SINGAPORE – While most 72-year-olds are probably blissfully retired, Madam Tan Kim Heng is happy to continue her work as a housekeeping attendant at the Royal Plaza on Scotts hotel.

Thanks to flexible work arrangements offered by the hotel, the quality of her golden years has not been compromised.

Upon request, the hotel has granted her a permanent afternoon shift and 22-hour work week since 2016, enabling Madam Tan to walk her grandchildren to school every morning without fail.

Having been with the hotel since 1987, her duties include maintaining the cleanliness of the public area and attending to guest requests.

She said, through the hotel: “I am glad that I can continue to contribute to the society and the hotel.

“I’ve also built strong bonds with my grandchildren thanks to this arrangement.”

While such flexi-work arrangements are rare in the hotel industry, they have been made available to 17 of Royal Plaza on Scotts’ workers, out of whom 15 are aged 50 and above.

Implementing such arrangements is difficult for hotels as it is challenging to strike a balance between employees and business needs, especially during peak periods.

But the hotel believes the benefits outweigh these challenges, said Mr Patrick Fiat, general manager and chief experience officer at Royal Plaza on Scotts.

“Mature employees are valuable assets to the organisation as they are able to share their wealth of experience with the younger generation. They are a source of committed and reliable workforce, which can be tapped to fill in the gaps for the labour crunch,” he said.

Meanwhile, Madam Tan continues to enjoy her work and the friendships she has formed with her co-workers.

“I’ve been given opportunities to mentor younger colleagues who have also taught me new skills and knowledge. Now I’m updated with the latest trends and issues of the younger generation which helps me bond with my grandchildren,” she said.