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NTUC releases practical guide for flexible work arrangements

The guide was jointly developed by NTUC and The Behavioural Insights Team.

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At Swift Health Food, which runs the HoneyWorld retail brand, employees can work fewer days per week with longer hours or spread working hours across more days.


Other flexi-time arrangements also consider employees’ requests and needs, helping to improve job satisfaction and productivity.


The company also benefits from attracting workers amidst the manpower crunch.


“A lot of people like to join us because they only need to work four days or five days at nine hours [per day],” said the company’s Business Development Director Pearline Goh.


Swift Health Food, a good example of successful flexible work arrangements (FWA) implementation, is one of the many companies NTUC highlighted in its new briefing paper on FWA.


NTUC released on 9 April 2024 the research-based briefing paper titled “Briefing Paper on Flexible Work Arrangements in Singapore: Lessons and Strategies for Successful Implementation”. It serves as a guide to workers and employers on sustainable FWA practices with win-win outcomes.


NTUC Strategy, NTUC U Women and Family (U WAF) and The Behavioural Insights Team jointly developed the paper.


“We found that a culture of trust and flexibility between employers and workers is important for FWA to work for both parties.


“The insights and recommendations outlined in this paper offer a roadmap for firms seeking to implement FWA successfully.


“By prioritising good management, clear communication, and strategic adjustments to workflows and policies, firms can create an environment for workers where FWA can work and contribute to organisational success,” said NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng.


This initiative is a follow-up to NTUC’s #EveryWorkerMatters Conversation, which surveyed the anxieties and aspirations of over 42,000 workers. FWA emerged as a pivotal factor for caregivers to continue participating in the workforce.


Key recommendations and actionable strategies


Employers and workers can consider the best practices for implementing and sustaining FWA within firms of all sizes. These practices smoothen transitions and foster greater acceptance amongst employers and workers. 


Employers can also learn from unionised companies and NTUC partners like Swift Health Food, which have leveraged flexibility to achieve their goals while supporting employee well-being. 


Employers can also identify current gaps in key operational needs and job outcomes, highlighting areas for improvement and addressing common barriers and biases associated with FWA adoption.


The paper also outlines NTUC’s efforts over three decades to promote flexibility and foster mutually beneficial outcomes for employers and workers.


“NTUC has been campaigning for FWA for decades because we know that it drives productivity and enhances employee satisfaction.


“Through this Briefing Paper, we hope to equip more employers and workers with the knowledge and tools necessary to harness the full potential of FWA for mutual benefit.


“By highlighting real-world success stories, we hope to inspire more organisations to embrace FWA and unlock their full potential.


“With collaboration and knowledge-sharing, we can create a workplace culture that prioritises both productivity and employee well-being,” said NTUC Assistant Secretary-General and U WAF Director Yeo Wan Ling.


Employers who prioritise FWA can also look forward to the relaunch of a job portal for flexible roles.


The “Yes, Flex Jobs!” portal will be rolled out by May this year to support the hiring efforts of employers adopting the Tripartite Standards for Flexible Work Arrangements. It is a joint effort by U WAF and NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute).


Read the full Briefing Report here.


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