Show a little flexibility

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 July, 2012, 12:00am


Although Hong Kong is small and has an excellent transport system, many people could save time by working from home or on the road between meetings and sales calls, popping into the office only for important meetings.

At the same time, companies would benefit from such flexible arrangements.

'Europe and the US are way ahead. Scandinavia leads with about 70 per cent of companies allowing flexible working arrangements,' says Martin Cerullo, global director, resourcing communications and innovation and managing director, professional services APAC, Alexander Mann Solutions.

'Much less developed is the Mediterranean, and Asia is far behind in this mentality.'

A second-quarter research study by IT provider Citrix, polling 100 IT professionals globally, revealed that companies enjoy savings on real estate, human resources, travel and labour costs, while the flexible working arrangements also help with risk management and business continuity planning.

Companies reported an improved ability to recruit lower-cost workers and a contribution to environmental sustainability.

Flexi-work also increased the ability to attract and retain top talent, and tap into a broader talent pool by using part-time work, job-share and freelancers. For instance, since the Hospital Authority successfully introduced the part-time doctor scheme, it has access to a pool of its own retirees, doctors in the private sector interested in working some hours in public hospitals, and those who have left the public sector but would like to retain the connection by working some sessions.

Giving people the flexibility to choose where they work also has a positive influence on employer branding, Cerullo says.

'Employers that allow staff the freedom to work flexibly are really saying 'I trust you to make the decisions about time and working location that are right for you.' This approach makes employees valued,' he says.

Employers should 'set a realistic and authentic flexible working strategy by looking at company culture, employee behaviour and performance, as well as technology and infrastructure', Cerullo says.