Is hybrid work arrangement the future of work?
- All Industries - | 18 Sep 2023
In today’s post-Covid world, flexible work arrangements have become more common. Having the flexibility to work from home or anywhere can be more productive for some employees, and is even a criterion for some jobseekers. The expectations of employees to have some form of hybrid work arrangement have also affected the work policies adopted by employers.
What do Singaporeans and business leaders think of flexible work arrangements? Are those who can work under such arrangements better off than those who cannot? How will the expectations of hybrid work arrangements affect companies going forward?
To find out more, IndSights looked at the perceptions from 1,518 business leaders from October to December 2022, as well as insights from a survey conducted by RySense which surveyed 513 employed Singaporean workers from its online panel, HappyDot.sg, in January 2023.
READ MORE: Business Sentiment Survey FY22 Q3
Is life rosy for those on flexi work arrangements?
Not necessarily so. Employees under flexible work arrangements reported significantly higher levels of job satisfaction and work-life balance compared to those who had to work on-site. However, nearly half (45.5%) of them also reported feeling emotionally exhausted, compared to those working on-site (38.7%) (Figure 1).
Singaporeans want flexi work arrangements to be the new norm, and 4 in 10 are fine with more workplace surveillance
Three out of four (75.6%) employees felt that flexible working arrangements should be the new norm in Singapore. One in two (51.9%) even expressed that if they were to look for a new job, they would only be open to an organisation that offers flexible working arrangements (Figure 2).
While hybrid work arrangement is clearly a priority, it is interesting to note that 4 in 10 (40.5%) of respondents think that it is fair for organisations that implement flexible working arrangements to also expand workplace surveillance (Figure 2). Among those open to a new job only with a company that offers flexible working arrangements, 1 in 2 are fine with expanded workplace surveillance.
Singaporeans may appreciate greater flexibility at work, but they also recognise that workers can take advantage of this privilege. Hence, surveillance serves as a safeguard against potential abuse.
What about Employers’ views on Flexible Work Arrangements in Singapore?
Most of the companies surveyed that offered flexible work arrangements were now either more willing to offer such arrangements or to at least keep to the same level of arrangements as during the COVID-19 pandemic. Flexible work arrangements were seen as a key factor in attracting and retaining employees, especially new generations of employees who may place greater value on such arrangements (Figure 3). The employers’ views seem to reflect accurately the expectations of the employees regarding hybrid work arrangements.
Flexible work arrangements have brought obvious improvements to the overall well-being of employees, according to the business leaders who responded, although some employers also perceive a negative impact on collaboration among teams and employee communication (Figure 4).
The future of work is about striking a balance
Our findings show that while greater flexibility at work is very much desired, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for a diverse Singaporean workforce. Furthermore, business leaders have also shared that not all job roles can accommodate flexible work arrangements and shared that it is a challenge for some industries to hire talent when the potential candidates do not fully understand the nature of the job and still expect flexi-work.
Even those who can work flexibly may not necessarily be better off than those who are required to work onsite. After emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, a hybrid working arrangement may now be a defining trend in the future of work. However, there needs to be continual conversations between both the organisation and its employees to navigate the shifts in the future of work and to make tweaks that make sense to both parties.
Perhaps the future of work is more than flexible work arrangements, and conversations can centre around how companies can maximise workers’ potential while at the same time offering them a work-life balance that can help them find fulfilment in and outside of work.
About the Study
This article was written in collaboration with RySense, using the insights from its survey conducted by RySense which surveyed 513 employed Singaporean workers from its online panel, HappyDot.sg, in January 2023.
The data on the perceptions from employers were taken from the perceptions from 1,518 business leaders from October to December 2022 from our Business Sentiments Survey. The business leaders were from the following industries: Environmental Services, Food Services, Logistics, Retail, Information & Communications, Security, Wholesale Trade, Real Estate, Air Transport, Land Transport, Sea Transport, Hotels, Construction, Financial Services, Professional Services, Food Manufacturing, Healthcare, Education, Electronics, Energy & Chemicals, Marine & Offshore, Precision Engineering, and Aerospace.
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