When a logistics manager from Tan Chong International wanted to spend more time with her husband, who was working in the UK, the automobile company allowed her to work away from the office so she could do that. For that, Tan Chong Motors and 11 other local firms have been named the Best Companies for Moms in Singapore this year.
The award, given out by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Women's Development Secretariat (WDS) and Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) on Wednesday, recognises companies which have implemented the best flexible work arrangements (FWA) to help working wives and mothers in their companies achieve work-life harmony.
In her address to the audience, Director of NTUC Women's Development Secretariat Sylvia Choo noted that most companies in Singapore have found FWA difficult to implement. Among their concerns were lack of suitability to their industry, lack of productivity and lack of staff discipline.
However, the 12 companies which were awarded yesterday have proven that FWA options can help increase employee focus and productivity, Ms Choo said. Companies who are not able to provide work-from-home options for their staff can also solve the suitability issue by offering part-time options or compact work weeks.
"It’s really about empathising with your employees. It is really about trusting that your employees will deliver when you give them timely support, whether it is FWA or just providing the listening ear or showing genuine concern about your employee's well-being," she added.
Mr Bob Tan, Co-Chairperson TAFEP and Vice President of the Singapore National Employers Federation said: "Many working mothers would like the opportunity to join the workforce but they need some flexibility in managing their work and family responsibilities. By practicing fair employment and putting in place flexible work arrangements, employers will be able to encourage more women (to go) back to work and widen the talent pool."
The Best Companies for Moms contest was launched in March this year and called on working mothers to nominate their employers by sharing a personal story on how their employers or supervisors have helped them achieve better work-life harmony.
More than 100 nominations were received. The judging panel, comprising representatives from NTUC and TAFEP shortlisted the final 16 awardees based on the nominees' personal stories and criteria including the extent of FWA practices available at the company, variety of pro-family employee leave schemes, employee support schemes for mothers and infrastructural support like lactation facilities and onsite childcare.