More work-life balance measures at S'pore workplaces: Study

PHOTO: More work-life balance measures at S'pore workplaces: Study

SINGAPORE - According to a study by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), flexibility measures at Singapore workplace are becoming increasingly available, such as flexible working hours and telecommuting.

The availability of flexible working hours at Singapore workplaces rose from 14 to 23 per cent in 2012, while that of telecommuting rose from eight to 12 per cent.

However, the National Work-Life Harmony Study also showed that while the workplace has become more supportive of work-life needs, more could be done to encourage such measures.

The proportion of people who reported the use of flexible working hours and telecommuting was just 15 per cent and seven per cent respectively.

Overall, the state of work-life harmony in Singapore has remained stable over the past six years, the study's figures showed.

Singapore's work-life harmony score for 2012 is 63, with zero indicating "no harmony" and 100 indicating "total harmony". This is similar to the score of 64 in 2006.

The index was developed in 2006 as one of the measures to track the progress of work-life harmony in Singapore.

The study also revealed that well-balanced individuals are more effective at work and at home.

Respondents who scored high on the Work-Life Harmony Index continued to report better work, family and personal outcomes. At the workplace, they were more likely to be engaged and productive.

At the personal level, they felt more satisfied and enjoyed greater peace in their lives, as well as having better physical and mental health.

On the family front, they reported higher family and marital satisfaction and enjoyed better relationships with their children, family and friends.

Notably, people with high work-life harmony scores want more children than those with low scores.

The study also revealed that those with children, and those who eat frequently with the family, enjoy better work-life harmony.

The study's lead consultant Dr Jeff Hill from Brigham Young University said: "The study results suggest that the emotional rewards from having children outweigh cost-benefit considerations."

Madam Halimah Yacob, Minister of State for MSF, said: "The findings show that work-life harmony has many positive outcomes for individuals and businesses. Work-life harmony is not about working less. It is about people having the flexibility to integrate their work, family and personal life to achieve the best outcomes in these areas."

She urged employers to foster a supportive work environment for employees to fulfil both their work and family aspirations.

She added that MSF will collaborate with the public, private and people sectors to reinforce the importance of spending time with the family.

The 2012 study is a follow-up from the inaugural study in 2006. It involved 1,650 respondents, and was conducted in partnership with the School of Family Life of Brigham Young University in the US.