1 in 3 Singapore employees can 'live without WFH', men more likely than women to say so: AsiaOne survey

PHOTO: The Straits Times file

With working from home (WFH) becoming a large part of our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic, you would think that flexible work arrangements have become an important criterion for workers.

In a recent AsiaOne survey, however, a significant number comprising about a third of respondents (35 per cent) indicated that they would be able to "live without WFH".

Among the rest who would want some form of WFH for them to stay in a job, 38 per cent shared that they want 10 or more WFH days a month. This works out to minimally about two-and-a-half days a week on average.

AsiaOne's survey was conducted between Aug 18 and 25 this year, where some 1,253 Singapore-based readers were polled to find out their job and career attitudes.

Men more willing to forgo WFH 

Based on the survey results, what's surprising was that men were 15.2 per cent more likely to say that they can live without WFH benefits – might this have to do with greater household and child-rearing responsibilities that women shoulder, we wonder?

Ricky Lim shared with AsiaOne: "I think it's nice to have WFH every now and then to recalibrate, but if it's too long it may be disruptive to work projects due to the need for face-to-face discussions."

This 43-year-old works in business development.

But for 41-year-old Tania (not her real name), being able to work from home is not an essential job criterion as she has a helper at home to care for her elderly dad.  

"I prefer to work in the office because I can focus better and then I'm able to fully relax when I get home," said Tania, a business analyst in a tech company.

And if you thought the younger generation (given their more recent entry into the workforce) would be more attached to having the flexibility of working from home, you'd be right.

Among those who indicated that they can live without WFH, the majority (36.8 per cent) of them were aged 55 and above.

Predictably, respondents aged 25 to 34 were the least likely to say so (29.8 per cent).

It's not all about the money

AsiaOne's survey also shed some light on what motivates workers these days — surprisingly, it's not all about the money.

Companies may find it helpful to note that work-life balance trumped salary and benefits when it comes to employee retention.

60.6 per cent of respondents in our survey shared that having "work-life balance" is what motivates them to choose a job and stay in it, compared to 54.2 per cent who indicated "compensation and benefits" as key factors.

PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Opportunities to learn ranked third (37.7 per cent) in the list, while opportunities for progression (35.4 per cent) and organisational culture (35.3 per cent) were neck and neck in terms of importance.

Said AsiaOne's Consumer Insights and Analytics Office head Edmund Chua: "It is interesting that work-life balance was the most commonly cited by all age groups above 25 as an important motivator for choosing and staying in a job. It reflects that the Singaporean workforce is not just satisfied with having good compensation and benefits."

For Lim, this rings true for someone who prioritises family over work.

"The reason we work is to improve our domestic lives. And most people have no choice but to work in order to get income to do so. But in the end, work-life balance is still important," he added.

Also interesting to note is that "personal interest" ranked highly among respondents aged below 25 when it comes to choosing a job or career, with 57.3 per cent of those in the age group indicating as such. 

The survey also polled attitudes on organisational culture.

It found that women were 7.6 per cent more likely than men to consider "organisational culture" as an important factor.

But what contributes to "good" organisational culture?

The results provided some interesting insights into generational differences in the workplace.

While the older generation (aged 45 to 54) were most likely to say that a "good boss" is most important to having a good organisational culture, younger respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 thought "good colleagues" were the most important contributors.

All in all, 47.7 per cent of respondents were satisfied with their career, while 34 per cent expressed dissatisfaction.

The rest (18.3 per cent) were neutral towards the question of job or career satisfaction.

Making comparisons across age groups, however, respondents above 55 were more likely to be satisfied with their career (6.5 per cent above average).

candicecai@asiaone.com

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