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Industry Insights

Straits Times Update: 8 out of 10 people want to work from home or have more flexibility

Posted on 15/10/2020 by Ashwini Balachandra

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Straits Times Update: 8 out of 10 people want to work from home or have more flexibility

Since Phase 2 has begun, workers are allowed to come back to the office but with only 50% of the total amount of employees allowed.

This frightens daily commuters with the fear of getting Covid-19 with the survey commissioned by The Straits Times of nearly 1,800 people have found.

Before the government announced that more employees could return to the office from September 28, 9 out of 10 people mentioned that they were already back in the office before that. Despite the complaints, the main concern was the daily commute in public transport and their work environments that cater to a high risk of being exposed to Covid-19.

Apart from these, the other concerns that we Singaporeans face during this pandemic is the close proximity in public transport and the lack of space to maintain social distancing as well as the discomfort of wearing a mask all the time!

Another finding was pointing out that during work arrangements, 3 out of 10 felt uncomfortable wearing a mask in the office, 4 out of 10 wanted to split their time between the office and their home and more than 4 out of 10 wanted to continue working from home.

Apart from the clear risk of Covid-19, this could also be because people were having a hard time adjusting to working in the office again, commented Dr. Brandon Koh, a lecturer in the Human Resource Management programme at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

It is not just nit-picking the issues from going back to work, there are also complaints working from home!

Some mentioned children or family while some mentioned that it was hard to convince their bosses of their productivity. This also includes working longer hours.

Other results mentioned were that half of the respondents felt that working from home helped them to save money while 7 out of 10 stated that it improved their mental health.

Naturally, bosses would feel that employees could be more productive if they were at the office since they could see that work was being done. Half of the respondents expressed that they would be reprimanded if they expressed their preference to work from home.

9 out of 10 of these respondents were aged between 18 and 54, 68% in the private sector, and 20% in the public sector. The remainder worked in other fields such as non-profit organizations or voluntary welfare groups.

Apart from these findings, 26% felt that the new rules of “return to office” that were set by the Government were hard to follow, with 22% disagreeing and 18% undecided-the rest did not answer.

Concurrently, 25% felt that their employers could provide a secure environment, 19% disagreeing and the rest were undecided or did not respond.

One of those who prefer a hybrid environment with some days in the office and the rest at home is Ms. Evie Lim, 34, who works in the Finance industry as she stated that it boosted her productivity with starting work right after getting out of bed. Despite the benefits, she stated that she missed the times when the office was full of people.

As times are tough, companies need to learn how to digitalize their business in order to cope with current and future situations. Adding to that, companies should also ensure that safety measures are applied at all times.

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Reference: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/8-in-10-want-to-work-from-home-or-have-more-flexibility