To facilitate this new way of working, the Bank covered nearly S$7mn in costs to help employees set up their home offices via a one-time nett payment of approximately S$1,000 per eligible employee.
Standard Chartered Bank Singapore has now placed approximately 83% of its eligible employees on flexible work arrangements (FWAs).
This was completed via the Bank's FWA programme called “Future Workplace, Now” (FWN), designed to empower its employees with the autonomy to "choose their most efficient and sustainable way of working".
According to its statement, the FWN programme was piloted in Singapore, alongside eight other key markets in its first phase in Q1 2021 - which as shared exclusively with Human Resources Online, includes Hong Kong, the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as Malaysia, India, Mainland China, and Poland where its global business services centres are located.
Under FWN, employees have the flexibility to choose to work from the office, from home, or from any of the International Workplace Group locations across Singapore, "if their roles permit for them to do so".
"The role of the workplace has shifted from a space to fulfil work duties, to an agent for socialisation and collaboration, and it is now more important to foster an outcome-focused culture that produces desired outcomes and results," it was explained in the statement.
"The concept of flexi-working, coupled with flexi-benefits and flexi-learning, has been ongoing in the Bank for the last decade and is a key employee value proposition that underpins the Bank’s overall ‘employee-first’ people strategy to attract the best talent and future-proof their job roles."
Based on its data, the Bank shared that more than six in 10 (61%) of its employees in Singapore chose to work from the office two to three days a week as they sought to strike a good balance between working from home, and the office. To facilitate this new way of working, it was shared in the statement that the Bank covered nearly S$7mn in costs in April 2021 to help employees in Singapore set up their home offices via a one-time nett payment of approximately S$1,000 per eligible employee.
Translating the aforementioned to results, the Bank's spokesperson exclusively shared with Human Resources Online that in an annual employee survey in 2021, employees felt the current way of flexible working is effective - close to three quarters (74%) of respondents agreed that the FWN arrangements allowed them to strike a reasonable balance between their personal and work lives. This, according to the organisation's data, represented a 2% increase from 2020.
Charlotte Thng, Head of Human Resources, Singapore, Australia & ASEAN Markets, Standard Chartered Bank said: "Our people are the key driver and assets of the Bank and we have always championed an employee-first mindset. We recognised several changes and new initiatives had to be made, given the changed nature and requirements of working in the post-pandemic world, and are focused on investing in the best environment and tools for our employees.
"We continue to listen to our employees’ needs and seek ways to offer the best employee experience in Singapore so that they can flourish at work and deliver the best for our clients and communities."
With regard to why only 83% of the workforce are on FWAs, the Bank shared that while all eligible employees are welcomed to take on FWAs that best support their optimum working needs, such an option "may not apply" to approximately 20% of the workforce as they are "required to perform specific roles in the office or are tagged to a particular branch location".
"For example, client-facing roles, on-site operations, and et cetera. Nonetheless, they are encouraged to have open conversations with their People Leaders to discuss other flexi-work possibilities if needed," the spokesperson explained.
On a separate note, the spokesperson also shared that the FWN has been "very well-received" amongst the Bank's employees since its roll out in 2021, and the Bank will continue to "offer it to all eligible employees".
"Since the safe reopening of our economy earlier this year, the Bank also encouraged all People Leaders to review and revise each team members’ work arrangements accordingly and where necessary. This was with the intention to better suit the changing needs at work and balance responsibilities at home. As long as People Leaders and roles requirements are agreeable, improvements to the FWN arrangements which are highly flexible can be made at any time for the benefit and wellbeing of each employee," the spokesperson said.