SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — As more and more South Korean employees in the public service sector are working on a flexible schedule to maintain a healthy balance between work and home, local governments are increasing their efforts to encourage and support the new work style.
Previously, a strict nine-to-five schedule represented the life of a civil servant in South Korea. However, growing demand among workers for more flexible working hours to improve their quality of life as well as work efficiency is beginning to be heard by officials in lofty positions.
Earlier last month, the North Chungcheong Province Office of Education introduced guidelines outlining ways to improve the work environment, allowing employees to choose from a number of options that best fits their lifestyle.
One option is to work the usual eight hours, but allows workers to choose when to start, while the other option allows employees to choose to work between four and 12 hours per day, so long as they fulfill the required 40 working hours per week.
“Leaving work at half past four in the afternoon made me able to welcome my child coming back from daycare for the first time. Thanks to a flextime work schedule, I now have much more time to talk with my family,” an official at the North Chungcheong Province Office of Education said in describing the perks of having a flexible schedule.
Another measure introduced by the North Chungcheong education office is so-called ‘smart work’ that allows employees based in Cheongju commuting to different cities and counties to work remotely at the smart work center at the headquarters instead.
According to the education office on Wednesday, over 40 percent of the employees at the headquarters worked on a flexible schedule during July.
On Wednesdays and Fridays, two of the designated ‘family days’ of the week, a couple of groups of workers at one department are said to start work 7:30 in the morning so that they can go home at 4:30, which allows them to avoid rush hour on the road and gives them ample time to do other activities after work on a regular basis.
“Though it isn’t ideal for some departments due to the nature of their work, the number of employees taking part in flextime work has increased since we introduced the guidelines. For flexible working hours to become commonplace, those in high positions must take the initiative,” one official said.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)