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Nearly half of Singapore bosses want to return to pre-Covid-19 working modes but many staff do not, survey shows

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The survey found that about half of Singapore employees want guaranteed flexible working hours and remote working. — Unsplash picture via TODAY
The survey found that about half of Singapore employees want guaranteed flexible working hours and remote working. — Unsplash picture via TODAY

SINGAPORE, Oct 13 — As Singaporeans return to offices, about half of employees said they would leave their companies if they do not provide flexible working hours and some guaranteed remote work. But about the same proportion of bosses are banking on returning to pre-Covid-19 modes of working, a survey has found.

These were the views of 100 Singapore-based C-suite executives and 1,000 employees working in companies hiring 500 or more employees. They were polled last month as part of a survey commissioned by digital workflow firm ServiceNow and conducted by market research firm Wakefield Research across 11 countries.

The survey also found that a higher-than-average proportion of Singaporean employees worry that companies won’t look out for their best interests, and would put profits and performance ahead of safety.

Nearly three in four (72 per cent) employees believe that their company will prioritise business continuity over workplace safety as more workers return to work in their offices. This finding is markedly higher than the study’s global average of 60 per cent, and is exceeded only by New Zealand (87 per cent) and India (76 per cent).

But close to three in five (57 per cent) of business decision makers polled share this sentiment, considerably higher than the global average of 44 per cent.

Here’s a closer look at the findings:

Views of employees

● 91 per cent like the new digital changes such as remote working

● 87 per cent said technology enabled them to pivot to new ways of working faster than they previously thought possible

● 52 per cent said it is essential for their companies to provide flexible working hours

● 45 per cent said it is essential for their companies to guarantee remote work

Top benefits of working remotely for them

● Time saved from not commuting or travelling (52 per cent)

● Greater flexibility managing personal responsibilities (47 per cent)

● Better use of technology to improve work efficiency (45 per cent)

Views of executives and bosses

● 46 per cent said their priority is returning to how they worked before Covid-19, and want to walk back the changes

● 47 per cent believe that transitioning to the new normal will be even more challenging than the initial shock of Covid-19, suggesting that plenty of hard work lies ahead

Some challenges bosses see with remote working

● 91 per cent said that many routine business functions, such as document approvals, performance reviews, information technology (IT) asset requests and approvals and check or cash transactions, are still being conducted offline

● 80 per cent agreed that their company will experience cost savings following Covid-19 related changes to company operations, but only 68 per cent agreed that the savings should be prioritised towards digital transformation

● 60 per cent said they do not have a fully integrated system to manage digital workflows across all business functions

Executives in the United States are the only ones who tipped the scales on fully-integrated workflow management systems, with 53 per cent saying that their companies thrive on connected systems

Across the countries surveyed, customer service, human resource, finance, and sales and marketing emerged as particularly vulnerable. IT is the only department with a majority saying that they could adapt quickly. — TODAY

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