WW Learning Journeys: Yeo Wan Ling helps women balance work and caregiving 

We want Singapore’s women to realise their full potential.  

So, we are enthused over the three Learning Journeys presented during Support for SG Families, our Women’s Wing (WW) Annual Conference at the end of last month (Jul 29). 

As proven examples of support towards Singapore’s women, they challenge paradigms and force a re-think of what more can be done for a woman to be successful at work and at home.  

They are apt too, for the WW’s decades-long tradition of championing women’s empowerment. 

In particular, one Learning Journey video featuring MP Yeo Wan Ling – who is also WW Research Head – essentially voiced the anxieties of many Singaporean women: How can I go back to work, yet still give care to my family?    

Employers can provide support 

One solution to this difficult choice: Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs).  

Imagine being at a job where part of the schedule provides the option for you to work from home of in office. Or where there is a compressed work week, or job-sharing, or permanent part-time work. 

Imagine how much any of these would benefit someone who has seniors or little ones at home. It would mean her returning to work while being able to keep to that particular medical appointment schedule and a regular timetable for family life. It would let her balance between all the things that are demanding her attention and action; it would allow her to be there for the people that she needs to be with.       

“Flexible Work Arrangements is indeed something that’s important for us to keep women in the workplace as well as to attract women to come in,” said MP Yeo in the Learning Journey video. 

“Ladies, coming back to work is about finding that balance,” she added. 

There are only so many hours in one day, and a lone person can only do so much. Employers need to lean in, and provide adequate support, to welcome women back to work

The C U Back at Work programme empowers women workers 

Hence MP Yeo’s Learning Journey video focusing on a partnership she developed with one such employer, Chye Thiam Maintenance.  

Over 70 per cent of this cleaning company’s staff are women and its CEO, Edy Tan, redesigned its working operations to help his staff when they mentioned care commitments. 

The redesign even includes bringing in artificial intelligence to help with work: 

Source: Yeo Wan Ling / Facebook 

The Chye Thiam partnership is the first in the CUB (C U Back at work) Programme which Research Head Yeo launched earlier this year as the Director of National Trades Union Congress U Women and Family (U WAF). 

MP Yeo posted earlier this year (Apr 30) about the partnership having $3000 salaries and clear paths for progression. Flexible Work Arrangements and targeted training are at its core so that caregivers can transit back to the workforce easily and with peace of mind too. 

“One of the modules that we’ve created with e2i is a Confidence Course, because that is one thing that many of us hear: The lack of confidence to return to work. And that’s why we have a module in this to give them back some,” detailed Mr Tan. 

Source: Yeo Wan Ling / Facebook 

In other words, the CUB programme is specially for matching women workers with progressive employers like this, which considers a worker’s personal and professional aspirations equally. 

The job redesign process featured is important too, noted MP Yeo. It is fundamental for employers wanting to make FWAs sustainable for their employees. It shows an understanding that one’s responsibilities at home will never automatically go away during normal work hours, and that leap of faith one takes to go back outside to work will be reciprocated.