How job flexibility promotes employee productivity and satisfaction

In order to attract and retain talents in organisations, workplace culture needs to constantly evolve with changing times to suit the needs of the workforce.

One way to do that today is through the implementation of flexible working arrangements (FWA) within the organisation, which grants employees a certain level of freedom to balance their work-life more efficiently than the traditional desk-bound job.

The question remains, how exactly do employers facilitate this change today while maintaining the level of productivity from employees?

Types of FWA

The Diversity in the Workplace 2015 survey conducted by TalentCorp and PWC revealed that less than 30 percent of public listed companies offer flexible working hours.

The top five common FWA offered by companies in Malaysia:

There are many different approaches to implementing such arrangements in an organisation, with some being more niche to selected industries. Some FWA which progressive companies are exploring include compressed work week and job sharing.

Is FWA feasible?

Video: Watch what these companies have to say about FWA implementation

When supported with stringent policies and relevant infrastructure, FWA can be a feasible solution for employees that require flexibility on the job.

In fact, companies that have gone the extra mile to implement FWA in their organisation end up benefitting in aspects of talent engagement and retention. According to research, workers are healthier, more motivated, and are more productive when they can make choices about how, when and where they work.

However, given the benefits of implementing such working arrangements, it is still a very new and uncommon practice in corporate Malaysia.

In 2013, BASF enhanced its Flexibility@Work scheme by piloting job sharing work option. This aims to further attract talents when BASF discovered that there was an increasing need for different kinds of flexibility work options, beyond the conventional methods that they are already currently practicing to continually enhance their work–life balance and diversity and inclusion initiative.

Despite its successes in many countries globally, job sharing remains a relatively new concept in Malaysia’s corporate landscape. Eager to kick-start the job sharing trend in Malaysia, BASF reached out to companies who are currently practicing job sharing to begin compiling best practices as key learnings for the pilot project.

Internally, they began by assessing the feasibility of job sharing within different departments. After rounds of discussion with the hiring managers of the departments, a few functions under their service centre were chosen to be a part of the pilot group.

These departments were chosen due to the nature of work which entails that:

• The work tasks require minimal continuity and follow–up

• The work tasks are measurable and the work load could be split between job sharers

• The department’s business needs are accommodating to absorbing job sharers

The two-month job sharing proved to be successful in helping BASF attracts talent to their company, particularly women who needed the flexibility in order to obtain work-life integration. the job sharing initiative has resulted in positive business and employee outcomes, which are:

• Total of five job sharers in two departments, all of whom are women returnee

• Maintained recruitment turnaround

• Maintained productivity levels within the two departments which have job sharers

• High level of engagement by the job sharers

Bringing the matter back to feasibility, with the right corporate policies in place coupled with the support of IT infrastructure that is readily available today, organisations in Malaysia should have few barriers to begin diversifying their talent pool.

If anything, case studies such as BASF’s demonstrate that implementing FWA in a structured manner does not only function to encourage diversity and the inclusion of women in the workforce, but promisingly promotes happier, better-functioning, and highly engaged employees.

TalentCorp is a champion for diversity and inclusion, and has launched various initiatives for both employer and jobseekers to facilitate this mission. To know how to go about implementing FWA in your organisation, email flexworklife@talentcorp.com.my


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