This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.
While there are differences between APAC countries, what is irrefutable is that the appetite for flexible working is as strong as ever. Seven out of 10 workers say so according to our snapshot report that surveyed employers and candidates in the region.
Yet despite the wishes of employees, we found that flexible working practices are not so widely adopted. If you take remote working (one or more days a week), for example, then only 14% have this option, compared to 34% of people globally. If you think that’s a sizeable gap, 29% currently have flexible start/finish times but the number of people who want this as a standard benefit climbs significantly to 70%.
Many of the clients I speak to here in Singapore are very much pro flexible working; they appreciate that it brings many added benefits, including increased productivity as employees are more likely to give something back to their employer who has placed trust in them. That said, different cultures and sectors all play their part and striking the right balance between your Gen Xs, Ys, Millennials and now Gen Zs is not easy.
But the facts speak for themselves. Three in four professionals in APAC are looking for evidence of flexible working before considering applying to a job and this was higher up their list of desirables than the usual company benefits, such as bonus/commission (55%), private healthcare (43%) and pension (19%). In fact, 58% would happily forego a 5% rise in salary for the option of working flexibly.
Perception is a big stumbling block. Here you have an interesting scenario playing out. On the one hand, despite evidence to the contrary, employers are worried that productivity levels will dip and that flexible working will have an adverse impact on performance and bottom line results. The flip side of the coin is that employees are concerned that their dedication to their employer and their job is in question – nearly a third (31%) of employees said that they were affected by this negative perception.
My last point concerns talent attraction. Now I don’t know of any organisation that doesn’t want to attract the best talent. Yet often they don’t mention flexible working during the recruitment process, in job ads and job specs, or even on their websites. And even for candidates, bringing up the topic of flexible working in an interview is still considered quite taboo. Just this week, a client who claim to promote flexible working did not continue the interview process after a candidate requested to work from home twice a week...There are clearly big strides that need to be taken to normalise flexible working practices.
I would love to hear your experience of flexible working as an employee or employer.
December 12, 2016