Workplace Flexibility, Empowerment and Quality of Life

  • Geetha Subramaniam, Peck-Leong Tan, Balasundram Maniam, Ershad Ali
  • Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, December 2013, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.11.090

Flexibility at the Workplace: Impact on Empowerment and Quality of Life

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

What is it about?

This study examines whether workplace flexibility may impact women’s empowerment and quality of life. A sample of 400 female employees from the services sector answered a self-administered questionnaire complemented by 30 interviews. Analysis and interviews showed that a workplace designed with flexibility has a positive impact on women’s empowerment and quality of life.

Why is it important?

Women’s empowerment is greater freedom and control over important decisions that affect their lives. Empowerment outcomes for women in this study were defined in terms of their role in economic empowerment, household empowerment, and social empowerment. Workplace flexibility is measured by flexible working arrangements (FWAs) at the workplace. Examples of quality FWAs include: varying starting and finishing times; annualised hours or term-time working; part-time working; working from home or teleworking; job sharing; selecting or influencing own rosters or shifts; flexible break times and flexible leave/time off provisions.


Dr Geetha Subramaniam
Universiti Teknologi MARA

One of the objectives in The Tenth Malaysian Plan is to increase female labour force participation from the current 47.6 percent to 55 percent by 2015. The conventional patriarchal mindset of the Malaysian society that has forced women to take up dual roles, as a homemaker and an income earner. A change in mindset is crucial to achieving Malaysia’s vision of becoming a high-income economy. A paradigm shift is crucial in the designing of a working environment to encourage the involvement and empowerment of women.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Geetha Subramaniam