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Remote Work in Singapore: New Work Paradigms are Contributing Critical Changes to Business Since 2021

Remote Work in Singapore—At the HR Excellence Awards 2021 in Singapore, the jury has selected Adventus Singapore as a finalist for ‘Excellence in Workforce Mobility.’

It’s clear from this interview with Adventus Singapore’s People & Culture Manager, Calvin Ng, that they went out of their way to help and support their personnel during this time of transition.

“Since the Circuit Breaker in 2020, our employees have had more freedom and flexibility in their work environments. Remote working from home procedures was developed to ensure our employees’ safety and well-being because of the pandemic’s severity and protect them against COVID-19.” Said Ng.

“Our employees and the company’s needs were considered when we restructured our work schedules to accommodate their needs.”

Due to their belief in their ability to adapt and respond quickly in the face of a fluid pandemic situation, local businesses are not concerned about the recent spike in Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron form.

Industry experts and industry participants tell The Straits Times that organizations have been implementing hybrid working techniques for two years, which they’ve fine-tuned since the pandemic began.

For those who can work from home, half of the staff will return to the office on January 1, subject to safety procedures.

Even though more of their corporate and administrative workers have returned to work, some organizations have discovered that the virus has had little impact on their workforce.

The CEO of IHH Healthcare Singapore, Dr. Prem Kumar Nair, remarked, “We have not witnessed a major increase in the number of workers affected by the recent spike in Omicron instances compared to our previous experience with the Delta variation.”

Even while half of his company’s back-end labor continues to return to the office, he ascribed this to factors such as stringent adherence to safe distance measures and rostered routine testing.

New Work Paradigms like Remote Work In Singapore to Boost Business Continuity

As a result of the virus, many firms have implemented business continuity measures, such as dividing their workforce into smaller groups and creating hybrid work arrangements tailored to their specific needs.

While many organizations have developed various hybrid work arrangements that best suit their company objectives and are still by Singapore’s current safety management procedures and statutory standards, SHRI president Madam Low Peck Kem has remarked.

In an infection, she provided the example of several teams working in various places to avoid cross-contamination.

During the pandemic, companies also made investments in remote working infrastructure and promoted mental wellness among employees to keep productivity high even when employees work from home.

According to the country manager of Manpower Group, “Companies have enhanced their digital infrastructure to guarantee that they have the technology required to support their business processes.'”

According to the report, the ‘right to disconnect’ policy is one of many that many organizations have established to better cater to the needs of their workers.

This can be done by telling employees not to answer work-related communications outside of regular working hours.

“We have said to our colleagues that they should not be replying to non-urgent e-mails and texts after working hours as they would result in unnecessary overtime and stress,” said Randstad’s Singapore and Malaysia managing director, Ms. Jaya Dass.

Four out of five businesses have told ST they plan to make flexible work options permanent due to the pandemic.

Firms are reporting similar or even better productivity from their employees due to hybrid work arrangements.

Companies like DBS Bank have allowed their employees to work remotely up to 40% of the time since last February.

“Our analysis indicated that almost four out of five staff were able to operate seamlessly remotely,” said Ms. Lee Yan Hong, the bank’s head of group human resources. Hybrid work arrangements were favored over employees’ traditional “remote work” or “work in office” arrangements.

The bank’s Future of Work Taskforce conducted this research on the bank’s global workforce of over 30,000 people.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) is another company that has implemented a permanent hybrid arrangement for improved work-life balance, creating a category of yearly leave that allows staff to travel abroad more efficiently during the pandemic.

While serving quarantine or isolation abroad or in Singapore, the company’s 1,800 workers can work for up to ten working days under this leave arrangement.

It was a “benefit” to use this leave type while serving quarantine upon my return to Singapore, said Ms. Lynnette Lee, a manager from CAG, who used this leave type while vacationing in Croatia in October of last year.

Despite this, not all companies have transitioned to Covid-19 as quickly.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), in particular, may not always have it easy when implementing hybrid work arrangements, according to industry organizations.

“While some employees may have claimed greater productivity as a result of shorter commutes, many employees have commented from the ground that fewer face-to-face meetings have hampered company-wide alignment,” said ASME vice president Ang Suit.

Some businesses, such as Fabristeel, have had to add additional costs to their projects due to the infection.

The company, which installs kitchen equipment, had to pay for more expensive on-demand labor when its staff became sick while fulfilling project deadlines.

Due to proper health safety procedures, the company has stated that the interruption to its personnel 90 has been minor.

According to a company representative, “We are fortunate that the safety procedures recommended by the Ministry of Health have kept us relatively undamaged thus far.”

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