ST July 20, 2005
Flexi-work on the rise in Britain, survey shows
Family-friendly policies benefit both companies and employees
By Neo Hui Min
Straits Times Europe Bureau
LONDON - THE traditional nine-to-five workday is gradually giving way to flexible working arrangements in Britain, a major government survey has found.
Companies with employees who agree to work a fixed number of hours a week or a month but do not have a daily start or finish time have increased from 16 per cent in 1998 to 28 per cent now.
Conducted from last February to this April, the survey of 3,000 companies also found that those with some employees who work from home grew from 16 per cent to 28 per cent.
Job-sharing grew from 31 per cent to 41 per cent, while companies with employees who switched from full-time to part-time work increased from 46 per cent in 1998 to 64 per cent now.
Employment Minister Gerry Sutcliffe described the emerging picture as one in which 'people have more choice and control over their working lives' and attributed the changes to government policy.
The government put in place several family-friendly policies in 2003, including increased maternity leave as well as legislation allowing parents with children under the age of six or disabled children under the age of 18 the right to ask for flexible working arrangements.
As the government plans to extend this right to parents of older children and carers of elderly relatives as the population ages, the trend of flexible working arrangements looks set to grow.
Attitudes of managers have also changed to favour such arrangements. While a 1998 survey found that 84 per cent of managers believed that it was up to individual employees to balance their work and family responsibilities, this has dropped to 65 per cent.
And now even Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen has decided to sing the same song as Mr Wang Zhen. Am I good or what.
July 20, 2005
Work-life balance: attitude change needed
Good practices also boost bottom line, says Ng Eng Hen
By Sue-Ann Chia
THE latest tool companies can use to grow their business is a simple one: Give employees time for their family and social life.
Survey after survey has found that employees who have time for work and play deliver more in the office and on the shop floor - boosting the bottom line in the process.
Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen made a case for companies to look seriously at flexible work arrangements, telling bosses it makes business sense to let staff work from home, or have time off to care for their family.
What it takes is a change of attitude at the top, he told some 1,000 employers and human resource practitioners at the opening of a work-life harmony conference yesterday.
To convince those who may be sceptical, he drew on studies which found that such practices result in more productive employees, higher shareholder value, and helped firms attract and retain staff.