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Embracing the Future of Work: How to Implement Flexible Working Arrangements In Your Business


On 15 April 2024, the Tripartite Workgroup on Flexible Work Arrangements – which comprises the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) – announced the launch of the Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) Requests.

TS Employer Infographic FWA_210x280_2Nov23_Final
Infographic on Tripartite Standards on Flexible Work Arrangement. Source: TAFEP

Employers in Singapore will be expected to abide by the Guidelines when it comes into effort starting from 1 December 2024. These include the expectation that employers communicate their decision on an employer’s request for flexible work arrangements within two months, and provide reasonable business grounds in case any such requests are rejected.

To help you prepare your business to adhere to the Guidelines, we’ve put together a simple guide for implementing flexible work arrangements for the employees in your business. Let’s dive into the most common questions you might have about doing so, and some tips from us to help you get started.


Take A Look At Our Guide To The Future Of Remote Working, And Why Hybrid Work Models Are The Way Forward. 


How Can Your Business Benefit From Implementing Flexible Work Arrangements?

Before beginning the process of implementing an flexible work arrangement policy in your business, the first question you might ask is; why? How could this be of any benefit to your business?

Surprisingly, embracing flexible work arrangements could offer some unexpected advantages for your business. Here are some of them;

Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Businesses which embrace and adopt flexible work arrangements are more likely to attract and retain outstanding personnel. In today's work environment, many candidates value flexibility over other perks and rewards.

Because of this, employers which enable their employees to balance their work and personal lives are more likely to build a happier, more motivated, and loyal staff.

Enhanced Job Satisfaction and Well-being

Flexible work arrangements have been shown to improve job satisfaction, reduce stress, and increase general well-being for the employees in a business.

This is because employees who are given the freedom to plan their working around their personal life feel respected and trusted by their employers. In turn, this leads to better overall job satisfaction and employee retention.

Improved Productivity Levels

Despite concerns that it could lower productivity levels, a business which adopts flexible work arrangements could see increased productivity levels from its employees instead.

That’s because this flexibility can enable employees to choose to work during their most productive hours, or in a setting that best suits their needs. This leads to them being able to better optimise their workflow, and produce their best work for the business as a result.


What Types Of Flexible Work Arrangements Are There?

Diff types of flexible work (1)Overview of different work arrangements; Source: AFON

Another question you might have in mind is; what kind of flexible work arrangements might my employees ask for? What should I be prepared to offer?

By their very nature, flexible work arrangements can vary as much as every individual employee that requests them. However, they can be categorised into three primary categories;


1. Flexi-place

Under this arrangement, workers are able to work either full-time or part-time from various locations outside of their typical office space. Common examples of this are working remotely or from home, as in a satellite office or co-working space.


2. Flexi-time

Under this system, workers can adjust their work schedules to finish tasks without affecting their overall burden or number of hours worked. One example of this is the option for employees to start and end their workdays at times other than the standard 9 to 5 schedule, known as staggered working hours.

Another example would be a compressed workweek, wherein workers put in more hours over the course of four days in exchange for a longer weekend.


3. Flexi-load

Workers are paid based on the varying workloads they are assigned under this system. This can be in the form of part-time labour, where an employee works less hours than a full-time employee while receiving pro-rated income and benefits.

Alternatively, it can take the form of job sharing, when two part-time employees split the obligations of a single full-time post.



How To Implement Flexible Work Arrangements?

Now that you know how flexible work arrangements can benefit your business, and the different types of FWA requests you might get from your employees, here are some key strategies for implementing a flexible work arrangement policy in your business.


Establish a Clear Policy And Guidelines

To properly convey expectations about availability, work hours, and communication methods, clear policies and guidelines should be in place. This ensures mutual understanding on both eh employer’s and employees’ parts, and mitigates the risk of misinterpretations.

To that end, businesses should put in place a policy that covers the following points;

  • What kinds of flexible work arrangements are available;
  • The reasons why certain job positions would not be eligible for a given arrangement;
  • The reasons why requests can be denied;
  • And the expectations for the proper use of flexible work arrangements

When submitting requests to be put on a flexible work schedule, employees should abide by the agreed-upon guidelines. This ensures that both employers and employees can come to a mutually beneficial agreement, and thus preserve a harmonious working relationship with each other.


Clearly Define Expectations Regarding The Use Of Flexible Work Arrangements

Employees should receive a thorough explanation of the criteria to be eligible for flexible work arrangements. This includes expectations at work such as workload requirements, performance targets, and expected response times.

To monitor how well existing flexible work arrangements are working, employers might set up routine performance evaluations between employees and their managers. This will help ensure that any issues arising from the arrangement are identified quickly, and addressed promptly.


Leveraging Technology To Support Flexible Work Arrangements

Introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central; Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365

To ensure that flexible work arrangements do not impede successful communication and cooperation between employees and their managers, businesses should invest in digital solutions that enable smooth virtual interactions. For example, a cloud-based ERP software such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can enable employees to access and share files from any location, facilitating real-time collaboration.

Enhance your teams' collaboration with Microsoft Teams; Source: Microsoft Teams

Project management software, such as Asana or Trello, enables teams to stay organised and track progress on tasks and projects, even when they are working remotely. Last but not least, communication and collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams allows your employees to engage in meetings and discussions as if they were physically in the office, no matter where they're working from.


Find Out How Microsoft Teams Can Enhance Collaboration And Communication Within Your Project And Department Teams Here.


Flexible Work Arrangements Will Shape The Future Of Work In Singapore

Beyond preparing your business to adhere to the Tripartite Guidelines starting on 1 December, implementing a flexible work arrangement policy in your business can provide numerous benefits for both your business and your employees alike, from attracting top talent to enhancing productivity levels and job satisfaction.

Before implementing a flexible work arrangement policy for your business, do consider the many types of flexible working arrangements that your employees might ask for, decide which of these are feasible for your business depending on its needs, and how you'd justify any rejections of FWA requests if and when it becomes necessary.

To prepare your business for the transition, and ensure it's equipped to offer the flexible work arrangements your employees might need, do make sure to establish a clear policy, define expectations clearly, and leverage technological solutions that make it possible for your employees to keep up their productivity while enjoying the flexibility in their work schedules.

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