South-east Asia’s largest bank, DBS, will introduce a formal Job-sharing Scheme to support employees who need flexible work arrangements, among other initiatives aimed at transforming the way its staff work in a post-pandemic world.
Two employees will share the responsibilities of one full-time role under the scheme, which builds on the bank’s ability to operate successfully in split teams over the past few months.
Staff under the scheme will retain all existing medical benefits in full and continue to be covered under the bank’s insurance plans.
At the same time, the bank will also introduce more part-time work arrangements.
The job-sharing scheme is voluntary and not a result of cost-cutting measures.
Job sharing is a flexible work arrangement where two or more people share the responsibilities of one full-time job, according to an implementation guide about the scheme by the Ministry of Manpower and Singapore National Employers Federation.
The job may be divided by function, geography, time, or workload, and the arrangement requires a proper handover of duties.
Job sharing differs from part-time jobs, which are self-contained jobs with fewer than 35 hours of work per week.
Only 1.3 percent of companies in Singapore offered job-sharing opportunities as of June last year. The salaries of employees under job-sharing schemes are adjusted based on their new work arrangements.
Job sharing is not very common among Singapore companies as it requires firms to manage multiple employees for one full-time job and not many companies have reaped cost savings but it can help companies to retain talent and enhance productivity if used properly.
The benefits for employees are clearly the choice to have flexible work arrangements, suited to different stages of an employee’s life. Employees can meaningfully contribute to the economy as well as balance other life interests.
Besides the scheme, DBS Bank will give all employees, 12,000 to be exact, flexibility to work remotely up to 40 percent of their time at work. The bank will also create more “project-specific, data-driven squads”, compared with the usual functional departments. These squads will be formed with members from various functions and areas of expertise.
More than 7,200 employees across the bank – 4,300 of whom are in Singapore – will also be upskilled or reskilled in emerging areas such as design thinking, data and analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
To facilitate greater collaboration, DBS will launch a 5,000 sq ft Living Lab workspace that aims to blend physical and virtual work configurations.
Likewise, United Overseas Bank announced last Friday that it is giving most of its workforce the choice to work remotely two days a week once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. The bank, which operates in 19 markets, has a workforce of more than 26,000 employees across the group.
In a six-month review of work arrangements and tools, the bank found that about 65 percent of its roles, all of which are non-customer-facing, were suited to remote working.
Working from home during COVID-19 has been instructive due to the speed and intensity of the change but we must look beyond the present and define a future of work that is more sustainable.
For example, once safe distancing restrictions are eased, people will want to come together in the workplace for close collaboration and in-person discussions, but they will prefer to connect online for routine tasks that can be performed from any location.
Meanwhile, OCBC Bank head of group human resources Jason Ho mentioned that, at the beginning of the pandemic, everyone has been agile in the way they introduced new initiatives, practices, and measures to adapt and transform the way we work.
In the future, OCBC bank will continue to do so as the situation progresses, considering factors such as employees’ preferences and well-being.
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