Many Malaysians want flexible work arrangements

28 Jun 2022 01:20pm
Photo for illustration purpose only - Source: 123rf
Photo for illustration purpose only - Source: 123rf

SHAH ALAM – Malaysians are currently keen in looking for a job that offers flexibility in terms of working hours and workplaces.

Even though they held higher education qualifications like a diploma, bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, they were focusing more on the work-life balance.

Freedom in managing their work and not bound to certain work times or work locations were among the reasons they were looking for such jobs.

Moreover, there were graduates who turned down high paying jobs as they were looking for one that could provide more flexibility.

Muhammad Syahmi Rosli, 25, who holds a Master's Degree in Information Technology said fixed working hours was no longer relevant and that it does not improve work productivity.

“Certain jobs, for example one that requires creativity, would be effectively valued based on the task completed, not the time,” he said.

He has three years of experience working as a web developer.

Technical assistant at a public transport rail supply company Anis Helmi Azmi, 36 said the communications technology has made it easier for her to complete a big part of her task while working remotely.

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“There are daily tasks that required me to be on field, but not all the time. It does not mean that I have to be at one place for eight hours straight.

“For monitoring and technical management tasks for example, it only requires me to work via smartphone,” she said.

As for private sector worker Che Nor Elysha Sofea Che Shaharul, 26, she said the flexible working schedule could help reduce stress especially for those living in the Klang Valley.

“For example, when we work at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are more productive since there is no need to spend time on the road to travel to work,” she said.

However banker Liew Yong Tack, 29, said it would be difficult to have flexible working hours in his field.

“If work arrangements are more flexible for example in terms of working hours, we would be able to do other things after completing the task given,” he said.

Sachkeerat Singh, 18, a student said, he was definitely planning to find a job which could provide a more flexible environment after he completes his studies.

Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Faculty of Management and Business senior lecturer Dr Muhammad Aiman Ariffin said awareness on the importance of mental health and physical health have become the main reason why many Malaysians especially youths were more keen to choose a flexible work environment.

Experience of working during the pandemic has also opened the eyes of many regarding the feasibility of the practice in Malaysia.

“I expect that in the future, these changes could happen gradually due to the awareness on mental and physical health among the people," he said when contacted by Sinar Harian on Monday.

Muhammad Aiman said most employers might face challenges to adapt to such changes especially in the technical and manufacturing sectors.

Nevertheless, he said, a new approach could be introduced, especially in creating a report and attendance system that is more practical.

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) Faculty of Leadership and Management lecturer Professor Madya Dr Abdul Rahim Zumrah said the trend would not affect the business sector in the country.

Instead, he said, it would bring a positive impact mainly in the service-oriented sector in Malaysia.

“Positive working environment like flexibility is in line with what the youths' are looking for which is to work on their own pace and with minimal supervision.

“This factor will become a motivation for youths to work. Hence, this would also decrease the unemployment rate in Malaysia,” he said.

Last Thursday, the government announced that workers in Malaysia were welcomed to apply for a flexible working arrangement with their employers based on the Employment Act 1955, which will come into force on Sept 1.

Human Resources Deputy Minister Datuk Awang Hashim said workers were only required to make an application to change their working hours, working days and also place of work.

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