Allowing staff to telecommute or work from home is a way to establish the work-life harmony and consequently, improve productivity and employee retention. That’s why 87% of Singapore employers polled by specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half, have allowed staff to telecommute.
The Singapore percentage is higher than the global average of 79% in the survey of 1,777 human resources directors from 13 countries. Singapore accounted for 100 respondents.
Only Hong Kong (94%) and Switzerland (94%) have a higher percentage of employees allowed to work from home, while Italy (45%) and Chile (38%) have the lowest percentage of employees allowed to telecommute.
“There are many benefits to embracing the practice of working from home. Employers benefit from having more motivated employees who are better able to manage their personal commitments. Companies also save on infrastructure and associated office costs.”
– Stella Tang, Robert Half
Stella Tang, director of Robert Half Singapore said employers have responded to the battle to retain talent by offering flexible work arrangements to existing and prospective employees. “There are many benefits to embracing the practice of working from home. Employers benefit from having more motivated employees who are better able to manage their personal commitments. Companies also save on infrastructure and associated office costs.”
Carrot to contribute
“Offering the opportunity to work from home is an attractive way to attract and retain talent. For professionals with family commitments who cannot commit to working in an office full-time, the option to work from home allows them to contribute their skills and continue with their career,” Tang added.
In Singapore, 91% of public sector employees have the opportunity to work from home, compared to 88% of employees of private companies and 83% of employees of publicly listed companies.
Those companies that never or only occasionally allow work from home have their reasons – either because the job requires a physical presence (55%) or for security reasons (53%), while 48% have reservations that employees will not perform to their capacity due to a lack of supervision.
While the vast majority of companies allow employees to work from home occasionally, a more significant statistic is the number of companies that have a policy in place that facilitates and formalises the right of employees to work from home. In Singapore, 60% of companies have a formal policy in place to manage employees who work remotely, compared to a global average of 47%.
Robert Half’s Singapore findings dovetail with the island republic’s position as one of the world’s most connected nations. Since 2006, the three operators of the country’s Wireless@SG wireless broadband programme — iCell Network, M1 and SingTel — have set up 7,500 public WiFi hotspots and drawn 2.1 million subscribers. Usage hours have also increased by 12-fold to 25.2 hours per user per month during that period.
Surveys by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) on infocomm usage in households and by individuals show that household broadband penetration reached 85% last year with each household owning at least one computer. Mobile penetration has reached 152%, according to IDA’s statistics on telecom services.
In 2011, Singapore had the highest Internet penetration rate in Southeast Asia, with 67 out of every 100 people using the internet, according to Nielsen’s Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report. Singapore’s digital consumers also spent the most time with online media — as much as 25 hours per week — compared to its regional neighbours.
The IDA recently invited interested operators and service providers to submit proposals for the next phase of its Wireless@SG programme, spanning from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017. The service provider is expected to:
- Provide free basic WiFi services, with a typical speed of 1 Mbps for the general public till 2017, and explore ways of increasing the typical access speed to 2 Mbps, or beyond
- Implement an interoperable SIM-based authentication mechanism by 1 April 2014 and develop Seamless Secured Access (SSA) enablers for non SIM-based authentication. The aim is to achieve 70% combined SSA and EAP-SIM Wireless@SG user adoption by the end of the programme
- Jointly develop industry-accepted best practices for coordinated public Wi-Fi deployments