Eight in 10 employees around the world said that they prefer agile working as it allows them to maintain a good work-life balance.

Employees based in Singapore shared similar sentiments, with 85 per cent of the respondents saying that having flexible working arrangements can help them maintain a more balanced lifestyle. Across the four Asian markets, Singapore workers have the most freedom to decide for themselves, where, when and how they want to do their work.

Despite the increasing demand for flexible work arrangements, more than half of the employees (55 per cent) said that they believe the freedom will interfere with their personal lives. As more and more companies provide employees with digital devices such as smartphones and laptops, workers in Singapore may feel compelled to be ‘always-on’ and are not always sure how and when to disconnect.

Jaya Dass, Managing Director at Randstad Singapore said, “Employees in Singapore are known to be hard workers and often clock long hours at work. There is also a risk of presenteeism, which is mistakenly accepted as having a commendable work attitude. Unfortunately, this behaviour impacts workplace productivity and business profitability. Digital devices should not cause any unnecessary stress and employers who entrust their staff with the flexibility to work outside of the office at a time that works best for them are encouraged to respect employees’ working hours. Employees who are given the freedom should also have a clear sense of their responsibilities, provide timely updates to their coworkers and keep to their deadlines.”

Randstad’s Workmonitor is a quarterly research on the global employment trend. The 2018 quarter one research was conducted between January and February 2018. A minimum sample size of 400 interviews is required in each market.

flexible work arrangements can increase productivity and job satisfaction


Three in four employees in Singapore have the flexibility to work from home and outside of stipulated business hours. The flexibility to work at an offsite location is popular among Singaporeans, as 87 per cent said that having the autonomy at work increases their productivity, creativity and job satisfaction.

However, 56 per cent of the employees felt that they are unable to disconnect from work. Women workers in Singapore are less likely to feel that agile working has interfered with their personal life as compared to men.

hong kong SAR

When compared to the other Asian markets, Hongkongers are most likely to work at the office, with 85 per cent doing so. However, nine in 10 employees want to have the option to work outside of the office environment and during a time that best accommodates their lifestyles. Agile working is believed to promote autonomy as Hongkongers want to be given the freedom to decide for themselves how their work should be done and when they want to do it. Higher levels of autonomy have also led to increase in job satisfaction as employees feel a sense of greater responsibility of their work quality.

Only one in two respondents said that they feel pressured to be ‘always on’, the lowest in all four Asian markets. Mature employees are the least likely to feel pressured, with 59 per cent of them choosing not to work outside of business hours so that they can focus more on their personal lives. This indicates that the workforce is prepared for agile working options and are looking forward to have more freedom in the way they work.


Across all the four Asian markets, employees in Malaysia are the most likely to feel that agile working will interfere with their personal lives as they never seem to be able to disconnect from work (63 per cent). Surprisingly, it is the millennials (68 per cent) who feel more pressured to be ‘always-on’ as compared to mature workers aged between 55 and 67 (39 per cent).

Mature workers are also more likely to prefer agile working as they believe that it can improve their overall job satisfaction, with all employees aged between 55 and 67 agreeing with this statement. The same demographic also said that flexible work arrangement plays a significant part in improving their work-life balance.

mainland china

Employees in mainland China welcome the option of flexible work arrangement, with 90 per cent of them believing that it can help them lead a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, 92 per cent want to have more autonomy at work to attain job satisfaction.

Unlike other Asian markets, mature workers in mainland China are more likely to feel that agile working has interfered into their personal lives, with 67 per cent of the people believing so. In addition, 100 per cent of the same demographic said that everyone works at the office during opening hours. Millennials in mainland China are more likely to ask for flexible work arrangements as they believe that it will help them maintain a good work-life balance.

randstad workmonitor Q1 2018 results

“I like agile working as it allows me to maintain a good work-life balance.” (%)

agile working and work life balance statistic survey
agile working and work life balance statistic survey

“Agile working causes a lot of pressure on my private life as I never seem to be ‘disconnected’ from work.” (%)

preference for agile working research statistic
preference for agile working research statistic

“I like agile working as it increases my productivity, creativity and job satisfaction (i have more autonomy in how I work)” (%)

agile working benefits in productivity statistic
agile working benefits in productivity statistic

“At my employer, we still work in a traditional manner; everyone works at the office during opening hours.” (%)

preference working in the office research statistic
preference working in the office research statistic

about the randstad workmonitor

The Randstad Workmonitor was launched in the Netherlands in 2003, then in Germany, and now covers 33 markets around the world. The last market to join was Portugal in 2014. The study encompasses Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. The Randstad Workmonitor is published four times a year, making both local and global trends in mobility visible over time. The Workmonitor’s Mobility Index, which tracks employee confidence and captures the likelihood of an employee changing jobs within the next six months, provides a comprehensive understanding of sentiments and trends in the job market. Besides mobility, the survey addresses employee satisfaction and personal motivation as well as a rotating set of themed questions. The study is conducted online among employees aged 18 to 65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The minimum sample size is 400 interviews per market. The Survey Sampling International (SSI) panel is used for sampling purposes. The first survey of 2018 was conducted from 10 to 26 January 2018.

about randstad

The Randstad Group is a global leader in the HR services industry and specialises in solutions in the field of flexible work and human resources. We support people and organisations in realising their true potential.

Our services range from regular temporary staffing and permanent placements to in-house services, professionals, and HR solutions (including recruitment process outsourcing, managed services programmes and outplacement). Randstad has top-three positions in Argentina, Belgium & Luxembourg, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States, and major positions in Australia and Japan.

At year-end 2017, Randstad had 38,331 corporate employees and 4,858 branches and in-house locations in 39 markets around the world. In 2017, Randstad generated revenue of €23.3 billion. Randstad was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands. Randstad N.V. is listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam, where options for stocks in Randstad are also traded.

For more information, hear what our leaders have to say about our #HumanForward brand promise.

media contact

Rena Tan, Regional Marketing and Communications Director

E: rena.tan@randstad.com.sg

Alistar Lien, Senior PR & Communications Specialist

E: alistar.lien@randstad.com.sg