LOOKING around her office at UBS Bank, legal counsel for Asia- Pacific Jun Wong is not short of examples of colleagues on unique flexi-work plans, each tailor-made to meet that person's specific needs.
One colleague works from home two days a week to bring up a baby she adopted. The company gave her adoption leave.
Another colleague starts work at a later hour every day as her busiest hours are later in the day.
Yet others who are studying part-time get weeks of paid leave to prepare for their exams.
Ms Wong, 37, is herself a beneficiary of this make-your-own-flexi-hours approach. Six out of her seven years at UBS have been spent in some form of flexi-work arrangement, so that she can manage her needs as a single parent of one.
The specific arrangement has changed over the years because her needs changed as her son, now eight, went from infancy to pre-school to primary school.
"It was actually my boss who suggested to me, whenever you want a flexible arrangement, let's talk... I looked at my workload, came up with a proposal and he said okay. It was easy," she says.
Ms Wong and her colleagues enjoy something that those in the human resource field say should be further explored to improve work-life balance for all employees across the board.
Says Mr David Ang, executive director of the Singapore Human Resources Institute: "Our administration of work-life balance seems to be very one-dimensional now. Increasing maternity leave may just be useful for certain segments of the workforce. What about the call for time to take care of aged parents? What about those whose children need attention for their schooling?"
As he points out, there are multiple generations within the workforce, including the highly mobile Gen-Y, baby-boomers and older "traditionalists" accustomed to more formal working hours.
Mr Ang advocates a "buffet-style" system of leave and benefits, where employees can pick and choose what they need according to their particular stage in life.
To do this, he says an organisation must first develop a way, such as a regular survey, to learn the needs of its employees.
UBS also offers Ms Wong and her co-workers a "buffet" of benefits from which they can select the combination that fits them. While a young parent may trade in his employee points for more child-care leave, a single may use his for recreational activities.
OCBC Bank has a similar system of "FlexDollars" that employees use to buy benefits. Its head of HR planning, Ms Jacinta Low, says: "The best work-life balance is different for each employee because we all have different priorities and different lives. Our priorities will change as we move through different life stages."