Singapore employers face a daunting task as they look to bring back their workforce.
Part of the complexity is that return-to-work is new for all companies, at least at this scale. That every country is carving its own path also means that there are very few case studies or established best practices.
No matter the challenges, SG employers certainly want to bring back their employers. According to a pulse survey by Aon plc titled "Setting the Stage for Return to Work and the New Normal," 89% of companies see the move as protecting employees better. Meanwhile, 83% said that returning employees can help with their business continuity.
“Business leaders in Singapore are grappling with challenges that affect every aspect of their organisation. They must make well-considered decisions on returning to the workplace that will not only protect their balance sheets but also their people. The human capital decisions businesses make now will shape the future of work and indeed their organizations,” says Alexander Krasavin, partner, Radford and regional commercial head, APAC & MEA at Aon.
The majority (89%) of companies said they will defer to government guidelines for safe return-to-workplace strategies. Health agencies, like the WHO, will be another source for 83%. Half the companies said they will also “leverage their internal experts to prepare for the situation.”
The survey highlighted several ways in which companies will be supporting employees during the transition.
Employees with children will have scheduling flexibility, said 76%. Fifty-four percent of the companies will allow employees to use sick leave for COVID-19-related quarantines besides what is required by law. More than a third (36%) are allowing employees to use sick leave to care for children when they are off from school (in addition to what is required by law).
A fifth (21%) are providing temporary increases in sick leave entitlements like special pandemic leave. In addition, 12% of companies added additional compensation programs for employees in higher-risk roles, with another 6% actively considering such measures.
The survey notes that HR teams are already considering changes in workforce strategies. One in three companies surveyed agreed that an operational review is imperative and they will need to restructure their operations and workforce for the long term because of COVID-19.
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