working remotely, flexible working arrangement, remote working, hybrid, Economist Impact, WeWork

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A majority (59%) of business leaders who reported being offered remote working of at least three days a week were likely to report a positive effect on their work-life balance.

If you're in the midst of formalising your flexible working policy, giving your employees the options to work remotely three days a week (whether they choose to take it up or not) might grant you a higher chances of employees reporting a more favourable work-life balance.

This trend is applicable across all levels of seniority, and was among the key findings of a new survey conducted by Economist Impact and WeWork on how new hybrid working habits have affected employees' personal and professional lives.

A majority (59%) of business leaders who reported a flexible working arrangement (FWA) of at least three days a week remote during the pandemic reported a positive effect on their work-life balance, compared to only 23% of those who did not have a similar arrangement. The effect was similar but smaller for employees in less senior roles: a third (30%) of employees with FWAs that included at least three days working remotely reported a positive effect compared to only a fifth without such an arrangement.

The study drew responses from both business leaders (director and C-suite level) and employees (manager level and below) across 10 cities: Singapore, Sydney, London, Berlin, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, and New York City.

Employees in less-senior positions value the office, as it helps them maintain a healthy work-life balance

Employees in less senior positions display what the survey identified as a "segmentor" mindset, in that they prefer to keep their work and personal lives separate. As such, over half (56%) of employees enjoy going to the office because it allows them to keep their professional and personal obligations separate. 

Meanwhile, workers who are offered hybrid working arrangements (across all seniority levels) display the highest level of satisfaction with their company’s return-to-office plans for the future. Eight in ten employees (81%) and over three quarters of business leaders (77%) who have flexibility over how many days they are expected to work in the office feel that their organisations are striking a good balance between work hours and personal hours.

In comparison, among those required to work fully remotely or in the office full-time, only 54% of employees and 48% of business leaders are satisfied with their company’s workplace strategy plans.

Key findings from Singapore

  • Business leaders based in Singapore (72%) were most likely to experience a positive effect on work-life balance as a result of the pandemic, while employees based in Singapore (31%) were least likely to report a negative effect on their work-life balance.
  • Business leaders in Singapore are most likely to feel that their company is striking a good balance between returning to the office and working remotely – 92% feel this way.
  • Employees based in Singapore (19%) are most likely to negatively rate their employer in terms of creating an atmosphere for a healthy work-life balance. However, business leaders based in Singapore (92%) are the most likely to positively rate their employer in this regard.
  • Almost all business leaders in Singapore (97%) feel that giving staff flexibility to work remotely is more important to their business than maintaining workplace culture.

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