EngageRocket’s latest report reveals new insights on the Pulse of the Singapore Workforce in the new normal, with some surprising results on working from home.
EngageRocket, in partnership with the Institute for HR Professionals (IHRP) and the Singapore HR Institute (SHRI), had put together a People Continuity Package to provide Singaporean companies access to people analytics to better understand employee’s challenges and help them navigate through this crisis. Since its launch in April, more than 500,000 responses have been collected and analysed to date, from organisations across a large range of industries such as Fullerton Health, NTUC, DHL, RedDoorz and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
As Singapore moves into the second phase of its circuit breaker exit, most economic activities are resuming but organisations still need to adapt workplaces to the new normal.
The latest survey by EngageRocket claims to be based on aggregated and anonymised data collected among almost 20,000 employees, representing the largest consistent dataset on the state of workplace sentiment during and post circuit-breaker, taking into account fears, and practical considerations on returning to on-site working.
Interestingly, more than a quarter of the employees (27%) do not feel safe returning to work. The main sources of concerns on returning to work are:
The resurgence of COVID-19 infections.
Co-workers’ compliance with safety measures and self-compliance with safety measures (e.g. social distancing, wearing masks etc).
75% of employees wish for social distancing to be observed for at least the next six months and 21% of employees think social distancing should be observed for at least one year while 9% would like for these measures to be implemented permanently.
According to Singapore Human Resources Institute Executive Director Shared Alvin Goh, as we continue to navigate through this crisis, organisations will need to put safety and security first in order to reassure employees.
“Undoubtedly, we will have to live with COVID-19 for some time and organisations would need to continuously address the concerns of their workforce. The economic health of the organisation depends on the physical health of their employees and it is imperative that companies aim for a zero infection rate through continuous improvement of their workflows and adoption of technology to enable their employees to work in a safe environment. This is a possible outcome and organisations must work collectively,” says Goh.
According to the report, organisational communication from HR managers and leaders on topics such as safety and wellness guidance, work from home best practices, travel policies highly impacted employee’s level of resilience during the Circuit Breaker phase:
59% of engaged employees are confident in the future of their organisation compared to 21% for less engaged employees. Among these engaged employees, 96% agree or strongly agree that they are confident about the organisation’s future.
35% of engaged employees report normal stress levels vs. 12% for less engaged employees
While some firms have begun preparing for the transition back to the workplace, work-from-home (WFH) arrangements are likely to continue to ensure business continuity and employee safety.
Returning to the workplace and WFH measures both pose unique and distinct challenges to organisations and their employees. In this regard, EngageRocket CEO Leong Chee Tung says HR managers and leaders play a crucial role in improving employees’ resilience and well-being and helping them overcome their fears or concerns regardless of where they work.
“The New Normal introduces new workplace and talent challenges for leaders. To make this new normal work, organisations will have to rethink how they connect and interact with their employees. Developing and maintaining a culture of belonging in this new configuration, will require new talent management approaches and skills,” says Leong.
The survey also claims more employees are adjusting to working from home:
85% of workers in Singapore are keen to continue WFH at least half of the time (vs. 80% of workers when asked at the beginning of Circuit Breaker)
55% of employees aged above 50 responded they would like WFH to be implemented up to three-quarters of the time (vs. less than 40% at the beginning of Circuit Breaker)
51% of employees aged below 30 answered that they would WFH to be implemented up to three-quarters of the time (vs. less than 45% at the beginning of the Circuit Breaker)
64% of employees reported being as productive or more productive working from home than in the office (vs. 54% at the beginning of Circuit Breaker)
Only 32% of employees aged below 30 indicated being less productive compared to 43% of employees aged above 50; and
50% of employees stated that their main challenge to productivity is not having access to resources and tools which they could have access to in the office.
While employees are finding their rhythm to improve individual productivity, IHRP CEO Mayank Parekh says companies still need to help them get the necessary resources in order not to compromise on productivity.
“It is noteworthy that employees are adjusting to working from home as part of the new normal. Strengthening company’s support for remote workers by embedding telecommuting and split teams into organisation culture and HR policies will not only reduce the productivity tax associated with remote working but also help attract talents in the longer term,” says Parekh.
(Ed. To download the full report, click here.)