2nd Thursday Meeting : Making the Argument for Flexible Working 

Speaker: Pooja Arora & Claudia Colabattista

Event review by Kimberly Fravil

The 2nd Thursday meeting for August covered “Making the Argument for Flexible Working” and featured two keynote speakers, Pooja Arora of FlexTalent and Claudia Colabattista of Mondelez.

Pooja’s talk focused on the scope of flexible work, including the various formats of work and the current practices in Singapore.  Flexible work practices can be divided into time based and project based options, each with different career impacts.  There are also pitfalls to be aware of with flexible working, such as making sure policy matches actual practice, being disciplined and the stigmas attached to which jobs can be done using flexible work options.  Pooja  talked about the PIE model – Performance, Image and Exposure and how as a worker on a flexible work practice needs to manage these with their boss and their fellow employees.

Claudia’s talk was more focused on what Mondelez offers and how various employees have crafted their own flexible work plans within the scope.  Claudia talked about the policies that Mondelez officially has, as well as less officially employees have made arrangements to suit their needs.   They focus on creating the right environment for flexible working so they can retain talent, which means she spends a large part of her time working on building trust and to continually have conversations regarding how the flexible working option is working for both sides.

The question period had three key themes: 1) how morale is affected by flexible working 2) gender differences amongst how males and females perceive or implement flexible working and 3) the fact that flexible working should not be considered only a woman’s issue.  That part of the solution for flexible working has to be to encourage men to take advantage of it as well.

However, the biggest message is that the nature of work has changed – that there fewer full-time permanent positions – and that in particular, millenials want more flexible work as they have learned to be more managed and respectful of their time.  We should all have the self-discipline to use flexible work to meet our work-life balance needs.


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