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Is it ‘self-entitled’ to expect flexible work arrangements and work-life balance?

A recent survey of 1,000 Singapore workers aged between 18 and 67 has stirred a heated debate online over the current sentiments of employees here.

Crowds are seen in the Central Business District on April 26, 2022.

Crowds are seen in the Central Business District on April 26, 2022.

A recent survey of 1,000 Singapore workers aged between 18 and 67 has stirred a heated debate online over the current sentiments of employees here.

It found that about two in five respondents said they would not accept a job if they were unable to work from home or anytime they wanted, while half of those surveyed insisted that they would quit their job if it prevented them from enjoying life.

While many TODAY readers slammed the “self-entitled” attitudes of workers surveyed, others agreed that companies could do more to adapt to shifting norms.

“A similar proportion also said they would rather be unemployed than feel unhappy in their job, while about half of those surveyed insisted that they would quit their job if it prevented them from enjoying life.” Self-entitled generation. CAYDEN CHANG

Then quit. No one is forcing anyone to stay in a job. Don't just talk, walk the talk! And please open a business, be a boss and do all of us a favour by putting your employees on flexi or WFH (work from home) so that more companies will follow your example! NICHOLAS NEO

Some people who want WFH, want work-life balance but want to be paid very well with zero responsibilities… There is no perfect job, as long as you are aware that you might be trading in something else for flexibility or work-life balance then it’s all good. We can’t all demand to have the best of life and want others to slog for us, can we? JENNY GOH

Flexible work arrangements or hybrid, those who know how to misuse the system will enjoy, while others suffer in silence or quit… On the other hand, not all jobs can WFH (work from home). For these groups, employers can think of other ways to attract or retain employees by giving some extra benefits to make them stay in their jobs. MAHESWARI MUTHUVELU

It’s not an entitled mentality, we spend the majority of our waking time working, companies should ensure they provide a conducive and comfortable work arrangement so that employees can be happy and productive. This is mutually beneficial. SAMMIE YEO

I'm glad these dialogues are happening with the new generation. The previous generation — and to some extent, even mine — used to wear being overworked and underpaid like some kind of badge of honour, even when it came at the expense of work-life balance, mental health, and the other things that money can't buy. It takes a certain mental fortitude to question the flawed narrative, and I applaud the new generation for being tough enough to do this. No “snowflake” label from me, for sure. YOGENDRAN K

It’s the future of work — priorities and norms are shifting. The progressive organisations are already transforming. The best talents are working intelligently and not settling for less or putting up with what the (baby) boomers have long perceived to be the rite of passage. HARIZ-YIHAO LIM

I don't see any issue with staff working from home if they have all the necessary work items like Wi-Fi, a laptop and a 3-in-1 printer. (Only if) they're going to ask the employer to pay their home bills, then that's being too entitled. NORIMAH ABDULLAH

If you are the sole breadwinner or need to support dependants, you would sadly have to think twice and not feel so entitled. Some jobs cannot be done from home, for example, receptionists, factory workers and security guards. BETTY NAH

Then don't complain about foreigners stealing your job, when you make yourself less competitive. Nobody is indispensable. Everyone is replaceable. Unless you are your own boss. ARIES WILSON

That's just bad management if you require people to physically be around to delegate work. If an employee's performance is measured by the number of hours he or she spends physically in the office instead of the results he or she produces, then the organisation and its leaders should really take a look at yourselves and ask, “Is my resistance to WFH or hybrid because it's difficult for me to manage my employees if they are all in different places? Is it a lack of trust, or is it simply I feel like I'm losing money by paying people who for sure won't be working 10am-5pm, Monday-Friday because the boss is not looking?” FARIS KAMIS

During Covid-19, I discovered I was 20 per cent more productive when working from home. Why? I no longer had to worry about the frustrations of getting to and from work in traffic. By the time you've travelled up to an hour to get there you're already exhausted. When you eliminate the things that take people’s time away from them, you'll realise they'll put in more. DEEDEE LIGHTFUL

If it can be done remotely, then there is no reason to not have that option. No one needs to spend their life in a cubicle with a micromanager hovering over them. I'm glad more people are putting their foot down. We've shown that there are many jobs that can be done remotely and don't require people to waste hours commuting and going to a building for absolutely no reason. LEE NEWMAN

What values has our education system instilled in these workers? A dose of poverty will be good for them. Rather be unemployed than unable to enjoy life. Indeed! I feel sorry for everyone. RONALD LIM

Never ever sacrifice your life for the company, they will never appreciate it. Just do what you are paid for, no more, no less. SHARIN SHARIMAN

If your job can be done remotely, what is stopping the company from outsourcing the role to a hungrier candidate based overseas for half the pay? WEE CHENG TOH

Give companies two to five years from now to innovate in adapting AI (artificial intelligence) or even robots. The tables will be turned to favour companies and they won’t be accepting these people and they can be flexible being jobless at home. NICO CHRISTOPHER

This is not about not asking for what you want. The question is what value you are willing to add to the company, in order for the company to let you have the flexibility you want. VICTORIA DIOR WANG

This is a good shift for the labour market. At the end of the day, companies should focus on their employees' deliverables and not face-time. DANNY OUYANG

I’m a mum of two young boys. I would also prefer to have flexible hours if I can choose, so I can still see my kids after school and not just come home and quickly prepare dinner and get ready for bed. Working from home and the flexible hours or hybrid really support in raising young children and being part of the country’s productivity at the same time. PIAO GRIMMER


These comments were first posted to TODAY’s Facebook page. They have been edited for clarity, accuracy and length. If you have views on this issue or a news topic you care about, send a letter to voices [at] with your full name, address and phone number.

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