Implementing Flexible Work Arrangements (Employers)

How to implement flexible work arrangements in a fair and progressive manner.

What You Must Be Aware Of

As an employer, it is important for you to understand your legal obligations when designing flexible work arrangements (FWAs).

Here are some rules and regulations you should abide by:

How to Be Progressive

Download the Tripartite Advisory on Flexible Work Arrangements (PDF) for guidance on implementing and managing FWAs.

In addition to our 4-step implementation model, here are some progressive employment practices you can consider when implementing FWAs. Some of these are based on the Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements, which you can adopt to distinguish your organisation.

Appoint a Senior Manager to Champion FWAs

The FWA champion must be a member of your organisation's senior management (e.g. director or equivalent), and should:

 
  • Advocate the adoption of FWAs at the workplace.
  • Implement and review your organisation's FWA policies and processes.
  • Ensure employees are informed of available FWAs and the application process.
  • Ensure system is in place for application and evaluation.
  • Ensure supervisors are properly trained.
  • Plan and organise events and activities to educate employees on FWA usage.
  • Allocate and manage resources to support FWA implementation.


Allow All Employees to Request for FWAs

All employees should be eligible for FWAs as far as their role and function allows.

You should inform employees of:

  • Types of FWAs offered.
  • Eligibility requirements for FWAs offered.
  • Expectations on the responsible use of FWAs. You may use your organisation's staff website, HR policy, circular or memo to communicate this.
  • Process to request for new FWAs.

Tip: You can tap on grants and funding to implement and manage your FWAs.


Evaluate All Applications Fairly and Objectively

You should consider all requests objectively and respond promptly.

Your consideration should include:

  • Needs of the job and suitability of the employee.
  • Organisation’s policies and procedures on FWAs.
  • Performance expectations and assessment (e.g. work deliverables and targets, and how the employee’s work performance will be assessed).
  • Impact on business operations and the employee’s working conditions (e.g. compensation, benefits and safety).

If you are unsure, you may consider starting off with a trial. Refer to our 4-step implementation model for more guidance.


Communicate Outcomes of FWA Applications in a Timely Manner

If a request for FWA can be granted, you should clearly communicate expectations upfront (e.g. timelines, deliverables, and response times). You should also inform employees that they may be required to revert to their regular work schedules if their job performance suffers or business operations are negatively affected.

If a request for FWA cannot be granted, be sure to let your employees understand the reasons. Where possible, discuss alternatives (e.g. ad-hoc arrangements) that can meet the needs of both the organisation and employee.

Whether an FWA request can or cannot be granted, you should inform your HR department of the discussion and document the application outcomes for long-term or regular FWAs.


Train Supervisors on FWAs

FWA training programmes for supervisors can cover:

  • Features and benefits of common types of FWAs.
  • How to lead and manage flexible or virtual teams.
  • How to evaluate a FWA request fairly and objectively (e.g. company policies, processes and procedures regarding FWAs).
  • How to establish suitable work arrangements (e.g. working hours, reporting arrangements) and clear, performance-based work targets or deliverables for the employee.
  • How to assess employee performance fairly, based on agreed deliverables.

TAFEP conducts workshops to enable work-life champions and HR practitioners to train supervisors in their own organisations.


Communicate Clear Guidelines on the Use of FWAs

To minimise misunderstandings and abuse of FWAs, you should:

 
  • Establish and communicate the eligibility criteria and expected use of FWAs.
  • Set clear communication guidelines for both employees and supervisors (e.g. preferred communication channels and expected response time).
  • Monitor the effectiveness of FWAs by scheduling regular reviews of job performance between supervisors and employees.