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Singapore employers falling short in flexibility

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Report highlights gaps in employee expectations

A recent report by Indeed reveals that despite the growing popularity of flexible work arrangements in Singapore, employers may need to better align with the preferences of their employees to meet their expectations.

The study, titled “Beyond 9 to 5: The Future of Flexibility in Work,” highlights a significant disparity between employer claims and employee perceptions. While 83% of employers assert that they offer flexibility to their staff, only 61% of employees feel that their workplace genuinely provides flexible options.

The disconnect between employers and employees regarding flexibility is particularly evident in the retail sector, where 80% of employers claim to provide flexibility, yet only 42% of employees feel they experience it. A similar gap exists in the tech, hospitality, and professional services sectors, as per the report’s findings.

Karthik Sudhakar, Strategy & Operations Lead at Indeed Singapore, emphasized the need for employers to establish a mutually beneficial alignment.

“Employees should have the opportunity to embrace flexible work arrangements without facing penalties, and employers should prioritize flexibility to attract and retain talent,” Sudhakar stated in a press release. “Ultimately, the ideal flexible work arrangement is one that serves the needs of both employees and employers.”

The report encourages employers across Singapore to make flexible work arrangements a permanent fixture in their workplaces. According to the report, the most common flexible work arrangements offered by employers include:

  1. Hybrid work (48%)
  2. Flexible working hours (44%)
  3. Remote work (19%)
  4. Location flexibility (17%)
  5. Four-day work week (15%)

Employers cited various advantages of flexible work, with the most prominent being greater staff retention and talent attraction (34%). Other benefits include increased productivity (18%), cost savings, and operational efficiency (15%), a happier workforce (15%), and the ability to foster a more diverse workforce (14%).

However, employers also acknowledged certain drawbacks of flexible work, with the most significant being the challenge of maintaining a shared culture among teams (24%). Other concerns include managing workload and deadlines (22%), handling employee expectations and fairness (15%), a lack of visibility over work (12%), potential income reduction (10%), and perceived skills gaps (6%), along with decreased productivity (4%).

Despite these challenges, the report highlights that 84% of employers remain optimistic about the continued prevalence of flexibility in the workplace.

“Hopefully, with mutual trust and respect, flexible working can enable organizations to thrive while providing a secure and accommodating environment for employees,” the report concluded.


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