FWAs are increasingly asked for during interviews

PETALING JAYA: Even before looking at the job scope during interviews these days, potential employees are asking, “Do you allow flexible working arrangements (FWAs)?”

That’s how important FWAs have become in recent years, especially among Gen Z and millennials, said a senior general manager of a public-listed company who wished to be known only as Terry R.

This is driven by the rise of remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic, which helped workers realise they could achieve a better work-life balance with FWAs.

“Having gone through pre- and post-pandemic stages while working remotely, most candidates now prefer to work from home – they are spared the bad weather, traffic and stress of commuting after all,” he told The Star, adding that flexi hours are now a popular benefit and a priority for many employees and job seekers.

When asked if he sees FWAs becoming the norm, Terry said that there is potential for it to become so with improved technical systems and legal support to manage such arrangements.

However, he said that employees should not feel a sense of entitlement with FWAs. “Some people believe that working from home or having a flexible schedule will lead to a lack of structure and discipline and lower productivity,” he said.

Operations manager Raymond Tan, 33, who oversees employee matters in a marketing agency, said his company has a hybrid work system in place that is clearly defined in the job description.

“Our employees are required to come in three days a week with the remaining two days of work done remotely,” he explained, adding that staff can choose which days they want to work remotely.

“If there are days employees are required to come in physically, we always inform them a week in advance.”

He said the company had thoroughly discussed the prospect of a full return to the office but decided to stick with the hybrid system given how it has improved performance.

“Productivity is not an issue among our employees, with the company even growing fivefold despite the remote system employed since the movement control order in 2020.”

Potential employees constantly raise the availability of FWAs during interviews, he said, adding, “Most of the time, it’s the fresh grads who bring this up, which could be due to their experience of completing their degrees or diplomas virtually during the pandemic.”

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