Do a quick Google search for "millennials" and "work" and it will be immediately clear that all around the developed world, young workers have a notorious reputation for being a challenging group to manage.

The search results show survey after survey saying millennials - largely understood to refer to people born in or after 1980 - place great importance on work-life balance, or as advocates call it these days, work-life integration. This has posed a conundrum to managers, who want to retain these young talents yet sometimes feel that they have not worked long enough to earn the right to demand such flexibility.

But for DBS Bank, one of Singapore's largest employers, this challenge is merely a new reality that it has taken steps to adapt to. After all, around a third of its staff are younger than 30.

In the past few years, it has introduced a series of flexi-work programmes to help staff achieve better work-life integration.

These include offering flexi- hours - employees can start work between 7.30am and 9.30am and leave accordingly. It also has an initiative named Five at Five, which encourages staff to leave work at 5pm on Fridays.

Staff can also work from home occasionally if they need to, or shuttle between the two DBS offices in Marina Bay Financial Centre and Changi Business Park.

These initiatives have had such a broad appeal that they have been taken up by staff of all ages, said Ms Sylvia Lai, executive director for business human resources and human resource communications.

She has a team member who works from home a few days a month to attend to family needs, and another who starts work earlier after dropping her children off at school, then knocks off earlier.

For Mr Kenneth Teng, 25, these initiatives mean he can arrange his work schedule to fit in gym sessions, weekend getaways and more sleep. "I'm not a morning person, but because of our flexi-hour scheme, I can come in to work at 9am or 9.30am," said the human resource analyst.

"I also like to travel over weekends to nearby destinations... So thanks to the Five at Five scheme, I can leave at 5pm on Friday then take a flight at 7pm or 8pm, sometimes even 1am."

Often, he flies back home early on Monday morning and goes straight to work from the airport.

Millennials may have a reputation for being unreasonably demanding, but Mr Teng said he appreciates the flexibility the bank and his boss give him and makes sure not to take advantage of it.

On Tuesdays, for example, he attends a gym session but fits this neatly into his lunch break.

Mr Teng readily admits that such flexibility was an important factor for him when he was looking for a job, as it is for many friends in his age group.

Partly, he said, millennials expect such flexibility as they know that with the technology available today, they can technically work any time, from anywhere.

Indeed, Ms Lai noted that millennials tend to want good work- life integration not because they are less driven. They often do not mind working long or odd hours, if it means they can have some control over how and where they spend their time, she said.

"They recognise they could be on call 24/7, but also hope that at certain times they can leave the office, take a walk and have a coffee. Whereas the mothers and fathers like to focus, come to work early, work through the day and then go home on time to be with their families."

Ms Yeo Miu Ean, chief success officer at work-life consultancy Charistal, said firms with such progressive views and programmes are still few and far between in Singapore.

"Many managers are not even comfortable with managing staggered hours that allow people to come in earlier than others or stay back later," she said.

"They wonder if employees coming in earlier are actually doing work. There's also a concern that if these employees are not in the same 'time zone' as the rest, operations might be affected."

For Ms Lai, the solution has been to schedule regular team meetings that everyone has to attend regardless of what flexi- work scheme they may be on, and to focus on targets and goals.

As long as employees meet their deliverables, she is happy.

"I know that different individuals have different work preferences. At the end of the day, I always discuss with my guys how the flexi-work strategy can work for both themselves and for the business. Essentially, we would agree on their deliverables and we measure their output."