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Singapore staff favour hybrid work models, study shows
Thu, 14th Mar 2024

Despite the push from many firms for staff to return to the office more regularly, 89% of Singapore-based respondents have expressed a strong preference for continuing with hybrid or fully remote work models. These findings come from a Global Workplace Guide study, conducted by global talent services company, Morgan McKinley.

The study showcased a heightened demand for hybrid work, reporting that 38% of professionals are willing to sacrifice pay raises to maintain their flexible schedules. Furthermore, 48% of hiring managers have emphasised the crucial role that flexible work arrangements play in attracting and retaining talent.

This preference for flexibility was highlighted further, with the data revealing that the ideal weekly working pattern for 45% of professionals is only 1-2 days in the office, with an additional 37% choosing 3-4 days. Just 9% expressed satisfaction in working a full 5-day week in the office.

However, the Morgan McKinley study found that expectations and realities fail to align, with 61% of Singaporean firms pressing for increased office presence despite these employee sentiments. This represents a significant portion of global companies, 56%, who remain committed to this traditional work arrangement. This could lead to potential attrition, with 56% of respondents who attend the office five days a week admitted they are actively seeking a new job in the following six months. Conversely, fewer hybrid (41%) and fully remote employees (44%) are looking for employment opportunities.

Global variations in return-to-office mandates were also reported, with higher rates exhibited in Hong Kong (91%), Australia (65%), Japan (62%), Singapore (61%), and China (59%). On the other hand, significantly lower rates were reported in the UK, Canada, and Ireland — with figures ranging from 40 to 42%.

Reflecting on the insights, Gurj Sandhu, Managing Director at Morgan McKinley, explained, “Four years post-pandemic, the global workforce is still grappling with the ongoing debate surrounding hybrid work models. Simply mandating a five-day-a-week office presence would likely encounter resistance and productivity dips. Our research underscores the resounding preference for flexibility, with 86% advocating for continued adoption of hybrid arrangements.”

Sandhu emphasised the need for companies to pursue a "strategic and mindful" approach to this transition. He suggested, “Striking the balance between flexibility and practicality calls for close collaboration through open communication channels and understanding the motivations driving employees' desires for flexible work arrangements. 2024 will be a pivotal year to see if organisations see flexibility as not just a perk but a fundamental aspect of workplace cultures creating a more inclusive, productive, and resilient workforce."

The Morgan McKinley Global Workplace Study surveyed more than 3,400 professionals and 650 employers or hiring managers worldwide to gather insights regarding various hiring and workplace trends.