Companies in Singapore expect the uptick in flexible work arrangements to continue according to a survey by leading global advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson. Employers anticipate that the proportion of full-time employees working from home (37%) in three years’ time will be six times higher than the levels of home working seen three years ago (7%).
“The rapid shift of employees working at home or remotely is likely to stay in the long run for many employers,” said Vidisha Mehta, Head of Talent & Rewards, Singapore, Willis Towers Watson. “While most companies are providing flexible work arrangements for safety reasons today, employers also recognise that offering remote or flextime arrangements can play a significant role in retaining talent and keeping workers engaged and productive even after we move beyond this pandemic.”
Indeed, nearly nine in 10 respondents (89%) cited employee safety concerns as one of
the main reasons for providing alternative work arrangements, but over half (57%) were
aware that this flexibility could promote employee retention and help to improve
inclusion and diversity (51%).
Despite the high levels of remote working anticipated in the future, only one in ten companies think their current job architecture and job levelling process support
developing a flexible and agile workforce. Furthermore, nearly a quarter (23%) of
employers still do not have policies in place to manage flexible work arrangements.
“Companies are recognising that some of the working practices forced by the pandemic are here to stay, but they struggle to be effective because of shortcomings in strategy, systems and other factors such as work design,” said Vidisha. “The good news is that the trend in many organisations was moving in the direction of a flexible approach anyway and the pandemic has just accelerated the speed of change. But employers now need to take a step back and examine the future state of their organisation overall and decide how they can make the most of their new agile workforce.”
The survey also found that most respondents (84%) say their flexible work policies would not have much of a significant impact on their overall pay budget. However, nearly a quarter (23%) are recognising that the new requirements for work require a hybrid model for pay and rewards.
With spend on pay unlikely to change significantly, companies are anticipating that any savings they make will come from real estate, where 43% are expecting to reduce their spend over the next three years. More than a third (35%) also expect savings from expenses connected to commuting to work, such as transportation and travel. Some of these savings are being channelled to facilitate the necessary changes to the companies’ total rewards programmes, such as equipping employees to work from home or for the health and wellbeing programmes to support employees in a more agile and flexible workplace in the future.
“The changes in the workplace as a result of the pandemic are here to stay. Employers that are able to create and manage a flexible workplace with an engaging employee experience will not only meet the needs of employees but also be best positioned to succeed in the new world of work,” added Vidisha.