DBS Bank to roll out voluntary job-sharing scheme where 2 employees share one full-time role

The job-sharing scheme is on a voluntary basis and is not a result of cost-cutting measures. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - South-east Asia's largest bank, DBS, will introduce a formal job-sharing scheme to support employees who need more 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, said DBS on Tuesday (Nov 17).

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 Straits Times understands that 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 per cent of companies in Singapore offered job-sharing opportunities as at June last year. The salaries of employees under job-sharing schemes are adjusted based on their new work arrangements.

Singapore Human Resources Institute president Low Peck Kem said 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 as a result of it.

However, she added that the scheme 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," she said.

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Besides the scheme, DBS Bank will give all employees flexibility to work remotely up to 40 per cent 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.

DBS has a 12,000-strong workforce in Singapore.

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, it will launch a 5,000 sq ft Living Lab work space that aims to blend physical and virtual work configurations.

DBS' new Living Lab work space aims to blend physical and virtual work configurations. PHOTO: DBS

DBS chief Piyush Gupta said: "As the way we live, bank and work continues to change dramatically, we must address the magnitude of the disruptions before us. We are prepared to radically transform the way we work by introducing a comprehensive range of measures which include (these initiatives)."

Likewise, United Overseas Bank announced last Friday that it is giving the majority 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 per cent of its roles, all of which are non-customer-facing, were suited to remote working.

UOB head of group human resources Dean Tong said: "We believe that the future of the workplace is a hybrid one where employees choose how to manage their work commitments based on the space and place they can be most effective. 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, he said.

Meanwhile, OCBC Bank head of group human resources Jason Ho said: "Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been agile in the way we introduced new initiatives, practices and measures to adapt and transform the way we work."

He added that the bank will continue to do so as the situation progresses, taking into account factors such as employees' preferences and well-being.

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