Businesses put people first as Singapore prepares to return to the workplace
A new pulse survey from Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, explores how companies in Singapore are planning to resume operations while protecting their employees. The survey addresses some of the key workforce concerns and decisions for companies looking to set the stage for a return to the workplace and establish a new normal in a post-Covid-19 world.
Aon conducted the survey, “Setting the Stage for Return to Work and the New Normal,” from 29 April to 1 May, 2020. This follows a previous study that was conducted from 7 April to 10 April, 2020.
As business leaders begin to determine how and when to start the complex process of returning to the workplace, protecting people and supporting business continuity emerged as the top human capital priority for 89% and 83% of the companies surveyed, respectively.
A large majority of companies (89%) said they will defer to the government’s guidance for work-sites when developing a safe return-to-workplace strategy, while 83% will look at advice from health agencies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). Half the companies surveyed said they will also leverage their internal experts to prepare for the situation.
As before, companies will continue to widely implement temperature screening. One-third of the respondents have either implemented or have considered implementing a formal Covid-19 assessment programme for staff, while one-third would prefer health assessment surveys.
Alexander Krasavin, partner, Radford and regional commercial head, APAC & MEA at Aon, said, “The first signs of the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy are just beginning to emerge. Business leaders 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 organisations.”
Companies are considering ways in which to put their people first and taking measures to supplement their support programmes and leave benefits for their employees.
- 76% of companies are providing scheduling flexibility to employees with children (compared to 69% in the previous survey).
- 54% of companies (compared to 33% in the previous survey) are allowing employees to use sick leave for Covid-19-related quarantines (in addition to what is required by law).
- 36% of companies (compared to 16% in the previous survey) 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).
- 24% of companies are providing as-needed payments or equipment purchases to assist employees with work-from-home arrangements.
- 21% of companies are providing temporary increases in sick leave entitlements (e.g., special “pandemic leave”).
In addition, 12% of companies have also implemented additional compensation programmes for employees in higher-risk roles, with another 6% actively considering such measures.
When asked how the experience of responding to the Covid-19 pandemic might change future workforce strategies, 32% of the companies surveyed acknowledged the need to review their operations and said they are considering a long-term restructuring of their operations and workforce.