Singapore's logistics sector can learn from Finnish flexi-work culture, Latest Views News - The New Paper

Singapore's logistics sector can learn from Finnish flexi-work culture

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Singapore's logistics industry can follow Nordic country's lead in giving staff work-life balance to help solve manpower crunch

The challenging nature of the logistics industry has left it fighting a manpower crunch.

Across the world, employees at terminals and ports work around the clock to cater to vessels sailing with consumer goods and commodities to ensure that all processes are smooth-sailing.

Those working in the industry are more likely to work beyond standard working hours and across time zones to serve business partners globally.

In Finland, where Kalmar is headquartered at, the logistics industry has relatively perfected the formula to keep employee work-life balance in check.

That has been key in making the logistic industry more attractive to solve any potential lack of manpower in the long run.


Flexible work arrangement is one of the key areas to achieve work-life balance.

Finland, among other Nordic countries, is leading globally when it comes to flexible working hours.

Such arrangements include being able to work from home and fulfilling the stipulated working hours without adhering to strict start-end timings.

Finns make it a priority to have dinner at home every day to spend time with their family.

Their work also provides them the flexibility to help cope with any family commitments.

In general, a Finn works an average of 40 hours a week, with many having some form of flexible work arrangement.

Many parents, especially mothers, choose to work part-time as well, with one in five choosing this arrangement to balance family commitments.

The focus on employee satisfaction has earned Finland the title as one of the best countries to work in Europe - having 95.3 per cent satisfaction rate based on the EU Commission report.

The Asian working culture has a more regimental approach. But with the trending gig economy in Singapore, more are looking towards temporary positions for more flexibility.


To make the industry more appealing, especially to the younger workforce, employers in logistics can take the first step in adopting a flexible work arrangement as it encourages a harmonious and efficient working environment.

While Singapore is encouraging more companies to adopt such arrangements, the logistics industry has a long way to see implementation industry-wide.

Turning the workspace into a family-friendly environment may help solve the logistics manpower crunch.

Policies and initiatives such as bring-your-child-to-work programmes and internal childcare services can help employees worry less about family matters, making them more productive.

In Kalmar Singapore, with about 40 per cent of our employees having children under the age of six, adopting these initiatives can make a difference.

There are plans for such initiatives to be introduced in the coming year.

While Singapore has initiatives to encourage companies to adopt employment policies that promote work-life balance, the logistic industry still has more work to be done to provide the same environment as their Finland counterpart to make the sector appealing to potential employees.

The writer is Vice President, Kalmar South and Southeast Asia. Kalmar provides cargo handling solutions, services and automation to ports, terminals, distribution centres and heavy industry across the world.