Four reasons to adopt a "work anywhere" approach

Alice Loh, Director of HR at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, says flexible working arrangements are helping propel the company forward

Workplaces continue to evolve. As the needs of employees change in tandem with today’s digital age, it is pertinent for businesses to adopt innovative strategies to become more flexible, and address the emerging needs of their people and the new business environment.

Increasingly, employers recognise that employees are demanding the ability to work remotely. According to data from the Singapore Ministry for Manpower, the proportion of employers providing ad-hoc remote working or unplanned time-off has increased from 70% in 2016 to 77% this year.

As part of its inclusion initiative, Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) Singapore has strongly advocated for a balanced work environment and currently, 32.6% of CWT’s employees enjoy flexible work arrangements. In today’s digital age, our people are more empowered than ever with their choices.

With the prevalence of flexible work arrangements only growing in Singapore, here are four key reasons why your business should consider this approach:

1.     Heightened employee productivity and wellbeing

In a 2014 poll by The Straits Times and Employer Alliance, it was shown that 80% of bosses in Singapore believe that flexible work arrangements improve employee satisfaction and raise productivity.

For employees, there is the upside of not having to commute but also the peace of mind of working in their own space, without many of the distractions found in the office.

It also better positions employees to continue serving clients and complete their tasks in the event of a major disruption. When we empower our people with the choice to control their working hours, the positive impact on their productivity and wellbeing shows.

2.     Staff retention and recruitment

Being able to provide flexibility around how individuals work not only opens up access to top talent in the market – it also retains the best of those performers. Resignation rates tend to be lower in firms with flexible work arrangements, according to data from the Ministry of Manpower.

For many employees, particularly working mothers, flexibility is paramount. If they have no urgent deadlines to meet during the day, CWT staff can attend sporting events at their child’s school, or a Mother’s Day breakfast and instead work in the evening.

3.     Cost savings

Flexible work arrangements also mean you can have fewer desks in the office. At CWT, we believe our flexible work policies have helped us reduce our office space in Singapore by as much as 20%. The money saved on renting office space can instead be invested in other parts of our business that generate more value – such as technology to make our employees more productive.

4.     Brand benefits

Adopting a programme like “work anywhere” makes your company’s brand synonymous with flexibility, innovation, employee focus, and choice. For CWT, it has also enabled us to demonstrate our commitment to providing the best environment for our employees. This can only be a good thing for business overall.

Things to remember about flexible working:

·         Make sure your culture will suit a flexible working programme. Businesses that are client-focused and encourage collaboration are well-suited to this kind of workplace structure.

·         Be sure to train your employees on how to manage teams at a distance. Flexible working conditions are a big cultural change, but the rewards are worth it.

Alice Loh_1.jpg

Alice Loh
Alice Loh

·         Companies must also provide ongoing opportunities for face-to-face connection. CWT encourages remote-working staff to visit the office at least a couple of times a month. Regular face-to-face contact helps maintain workplace relationships and also ensures the continued success of a flexible work programme.

 

About the author::

Alice Loh is the HR Director for Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Southeast Asia, based in Singapore.

 

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