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Singapore – Employers offer more flexible working arrangements, overtime work more productive

23 June 2016

The latest Working Hours Survey from professional services recruiter Morgan McKinley shows that while the majority of professionals in Singapore work longer than their contracted hours, the situation has eased substantially compared to 2014 with many employers now offering more flexible working arrangements.

The survey also showed that two-thirds of the 987 respondents to the survey stated that they felt obliged to work longer than their contracted hours. However, this was 10% less than in the 2014 survey. It showed that 80% of those who said they worked beyond their contracted hours felt more productive during this time.

However, of those who work beyond their contracted hours, (more than 80% of respondents reported that they felt that this time is productive), nearly 90% are not paid for this overtime.

The survey also showed that nearly half said that their employer offered home-office working as an option, while two-thirds said they could exercise discretion on start and finish times and more than a third could take time off in lieu of extra hours worked.

“It is refreshing to see that companies are adopting a broad range of strategies to lessen the impact of long working hours,” Andrew Evans, Managing Director, Morgan McKinley Singapore, said

Meanwhile, the survey showed that 12% of professionals contracted to work more than 46 hours when the legal limit set at 44 hours according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). It showed that 35% of respondents stated that long working hours was having a significant impact and required them to make sacrifices in terms of their personal and family life.

“Singapore-based professionals are among the hardest working in the world and when we conducted the 2014 survey it seemed that the strain was becoming intolerable for many,” Evans said. “While there is still progress that needs to be made, it appears that many organisations have taken on board the MOM’s message that a work-life friendly workplace is a win-win situation for both employers and employees. This bears out in what we hear day-in, day-out from professionals: they do not mind working beyond contracted hours – within reason – so long as the time is productive, and with 80% reporting that it is productive this is positive news.”

The Morgan McKinley survey also found that 75% of respondents work remotely at least on occasion, with 15% also working remotely at weekends. However, some 40% of employers do not allow employees to work remotely at their own discretion or even occasionally. Only 10% allow it as a matter of company policy.

“With Generation Y and even some Generation Z entering the workforce we strongly believe that more flexible working arrangements will play an even greater role in attracting and retaining the most talented and dedicated professionals. Employers will need to work closely with employees to uncover what financial and non-financial factors are important to them.”

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