Singapore’s evolving workplace dynamics are set to undergo a significant transformation with the impending mandate on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs), effective December 1, 2024. Among the various options, the concept of a 4-day work week has emerged as a focal point of discussion, sparking debates across the business spectrum. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of this paradigm shift, incorporating insights from business owners, HR professionals, and employees, alongside poll findings to assess its feasibility and implications.

Poll Findings

In a recent poll conducted by our team on LinkedIn, we sought to gauge the opinions of professionals in Singapore regarding the implementation of a 4-day work week, given the increasing prevalence of flexible work arrangements.

A staggering 94% of respondents showed their support for transitioning to a 4-day work week. This resounding endorsement speaks volumes about the evolving preferences of Singaporean professionals, who are increasingly valuing work-life balance and embracing innovative approaches to reshape the traditional workweek. It’s important to note that while the majority expressed support, 4% of respondents voiced their dissent, while 2% fell into the “others” category, indicating a diversity of opinions within the workforce. This exclusive poll, conducted by our team, offers valuable insights into the shifting attitudes and preferences of professionals in Singapore towards modern work arrangements.

Insights from Key Stakeholders

In addition to our LinkedIn poll, we engaged directly with key stakeholders—business owners, HR professionals, and employees—to gather their insights on the 4-day work week.

Business Owner – Rong Jie Lin, CFO of Elitez Group

He views the new mandate for employers to review Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) impartially as a positive step, fostering a balanced dialogue between both parties. Reflecting on Elitez Group’s initiatives, he stated,

“Our company has already embraced various FWAs, including the ‘Elitez Work Anywhere’ program, which allows employees to work remotely, and flexible working schedules determined by business unit leaders.”

Regarding the adoption of a 4-day work week, Rong Jie believes its success depends on factors like the business environment and government leadership. Challenges may arise in implementing it across all professions due to increased costs and impacts on competitiveness. Additionally, operational efficiency and customer service satisfaction might be affected if services are limited to four days, unless additional costs are incurred to maintain service levels.

While FWAs, including a 4-day work week, could offer a competitive edge in attracting and retaining talent, he emphasizes that flexible work timings and arrangements are more critical. To balance productivity benefits with the need for oversight, FWAs should be granted to mature and high-performing colleagues, minimizing additional oversight and coordination costs. Looking ahead, the industry may need to consider offshoring non-core workflows and developing attractive FWA packages to retain top talent. Success will be measured by maintaining consistent output levels, tailored to the specific needs of each department and role.

Human Resource Manager – Yasmin, HR of Elitez Group

Yasmin, representing Elitez Group’s HR department, shared that her team developed a detailed FWA policy and a robust communication plan involving company-wide emails, intranet updates, and town hall meetings. An FAQ document and a communication deck will help address common questions, supplemented by references to external resources like the Ministry of Manpower and TAFEP. She also outlined clear criteria for evaluating FWA requests, focusing on job role suitability, performance records, and operational requirements, with an initial trial period to assess feasibility. Observing a growing trend in employee preferences for remote work, compressed workweeks, and flexi-hours, regular surveys and feedback channels will be established to ensure the needs of employees are met, with findings analyzed for policy adjustments.

Additionally, managers will receive specific training and resources to effectively manage diverse work arrangements, and HR will support employees transitioning to new schedules through orientation sessions, transparent guidelines, and regular follow-ups. The impact of FWAs will be measured through productivity metrics, employee satisfaction surveys, performance reviews, retention rates, absenteeism rates, and engagement levels. 

Lastly, Yasmin highlighted,

While a four-day work week has improved work-life balance and job satisfaction, it requires careful workload management and coordination with external partners on traditional schedules.

Employee – Sheng Yang, Assistant Finance Manager

Sheng Yang expresses support for the implementation of a 4-day workweek, citing its potential to improve work-life balance. However, he acknowledges challenges in meeting deadlines within his department. While not well-versed in the updated Tripartite Guidelines on FWAs, Sheng Yang expresses interest in exploring specific arrangements. With a child due soon, he sees the appeal of a 4-day workweek in facilitating childcare responsibilities.

“When requesting a 4-day workweek or other FWAs, my primary expectation from my employer is that they understand my needs. Of course, I recognize that the business must prioritize completing my due tasks on time.” – Sheng Yang

Having previously experienced a flexible working arrangement, Sheng Yang emphasizes its effectiveness in managing work demands. While acknowledging his concerns about meeting deadlines on non-working days, he suggests implementing regulated timelines to address them effectively. Anticipating increased productivity and job satisfaction, he firmly believes that transitioning to a 4-day workweek would not only offer a more balanced lifestyle for all but also contribute positively to overall workplace well-being.

Conclusion: Revolution or Regression?

As organizations grapple with the idea of a 4-day work week and other Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs), the debate continues: Revolution or Regression? Throughout our exploration, we’ve delved into the varied perspectives of different stakeholders. Each viewpoint offers valuable insights into the potential benefits and challenges of implementing FWAs.

Yet, amidst this dialogue, one truth remains evident: the 4-day work week represents more than just a change in schedule—it’s a reflection of our evolving understanding of work and its impact on our lives. By embracing innovation, fostering collaboration, and prioritizing employee well-being, organizations can navigate this transition with purpose and foresight. As we stand on the brink of transformation, let us seize this moment to shape a future where work is not just a means to an end, but a source of fulfillment and empowerment for individuals and communities alike.

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