The Success of Digiserve by Telkom Indonesia in Implementing Flexible Work Arrangements

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In Indonesia, the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) industry is still dominated by men. As a result, there are only 36 percent1 female workers in Digiserve by Telkom Indonesia, previously known as Telkomtelstra. In response to this, in 2016, the senior leadership of Digiserve decided to develop a commitment to support gender equality which was later known as the Parity Pledge.

One of the main elements of the pledge was flexible working. One of the key elements of this commitment is flexible work arrangements. This element is expected to assist female workers in managing their domestic roles and having a better work-life balance. In addition, Digiserve also intends to encourage male workers to play a greater role in family life to increase their potential role as spouses or fathers.

However, attracting and retaining women workers in the STEM sector remains a key challenge for Digiserve despite the practices that support women in the workplace. Therefore, leaders and the HR department took the initiative to formalize these practices into policies that can be applied evenly and consistently throughout the company.

The flexible working arrangements at Digiserve cover three aspects:

  1. Flexible working hours: Employees are allowed to work flexibly, as long as they work for a total of eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.
  2. Remote working: From time to time, employees may work from home (remotely) or from client offices.
  3. Unpaid leave: This form of flexibility aims to help employees who have specific needs that require their attention over a longer timeframe, for example family issues, or to focus on completing training or studies.

To support implementation of the policy and to support managers and employees to troubleshoot issues related to flexible working the HR team have introduced the following:

An education program for all employees and new recruits: this covers the intention, parameters and expected outcomes of the policy. The flexible working arrangement policy is intended to empower employees to take responsibility for managing their working arrangements (without relying on strict office hours and presence in the office) and ensuring that employees value the policies provided by the company by not misusing them.

Collecting feedback from employees through an anonymous employee survey and HR clinics: enables HR to obtain the opinion of both managers and employees. The HR clinic allows employees and managers to request a consultation and submit complaints, which may range from leaders complaining about a staff member that cannot be contacted, to a staff member feeling obligated to work fixed hours with no flexibility.  This information also helps to inform the education program described above.

Providing coaching to managers: to support them to manage their teams in a way that is aligned with the flexible working arrangement policy. The support provided by HR includes guiding managers on how to manage people better to increase results and talking to particular managers on how to ensure they promote work-life balance. This also involves encouraging managers to occasionally use flexible working arrangements themselves, to set an example and to ensure that employees receive the message that the managers are supportive of this type of work model. 

Since implementing flexible work arrangements in 2017, the percentage of workers agreeing to a work-life balance has increased from 68 percent in 2017 to 82 percent in 2019.

“I could organise my time for work so that I can still teach my child for their online learning.” Similarly was also expressed by male workers who can organise their time to do work and other activities at home, including being able to assist children to do school from home.

Moreover, according to 98% of questionnaire respondents, they are more or equally productive when using flexible working arrangements. However, some employees also highlighted some negative aspects of flexible working, including the blurring of home and work life and working long hours. Flexible work arrangements also help Digiserve achieve cost efficiencies by releasing 50 percent of the office space that is not used, thereby reducing operational costs.

Following on from its commitment to gender equality in the workplace, Digiserve joined IBCWE as a member in 2019, and runs the Gender Equality Assessment, Results, and Strategies (GEARS), a WGE diagnostic tool conducted by IBCWE to diagnose performance, set goals and build comprehensive gender equality strategy within the company.

Learn more in the Digiserve by Telkom Indonesia case study conducted by IBCWE with the assistance of Solidaritas.


1Telkomtelstra data as of Q2 2020

30 January 2022

Tiara Tri Hapsari

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