SINGAPORE - Having been involved in flexible work arrangements in Singapore and Asean countries, I agree that such practices are not popular, probably due to the lack of knowledge on how to implement them as well as a fear of failure.
There must be compelling benefits, especially financial ones, in order for employers and employees to support such arrangements ("10,000 people to Travel Smart", Oct 3; and "Why it's okay to take a work call in pyjamas", Oct 16).
Companies can save on real estate and related facilities' operation costs by incorporating a shared employee desk concept in their space planning. This includes centralised employee lockers, mailboxes and an employee lounge as an informal setting for meetings.
Flexible work arrangements require systematic planning and implementation, involving stakeholders from various departments across the company.
A proper process to handle workers' resistance to change, as well as an efficient teleconferencing system and equipment, is needed to help employees transition into working anywhere and at any time while out of office. Companies should also develop an incentive package that helps defray the cost of employees' cellphone and home utility bills.
A flexible work arrangement programme must adapt to the local environment in order to be successful. With Singapore being among the world's most broadband-enabled countries and having a high smartphone ownership rate, telecommuting is made more palatable and convenient.
It can also help with work-life balance and save employers from having to set up multiple offices.
The Straits Times
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