Return to work: What employees expect from HR

Singaporeans reveal what it’ll take for employers to get them back in

Return to work: What employees expect from HR

The Singapore government has announced that employers can allow more workers back at workplaces from September 28 onwards.

Three in four employees said it’s really important that their employer asks them what measures they want to see in place, before they can feel confident enough to return.

Workers said they’re keen on seeing several actions from employers such as:

  • More flexible work schedules (69%)
  • Higher focus on personal hygiene (44%)
  • Greater focus on employee mental health (39%)
  • And focus on office hygiene (39%)
  • Ability to choose their work location (38%)

This could mean anything from better policies, clear guidelines, symptom checks and more digital communication tools, suggested Qualtrics’ study.

Read more: Is your back-to-work strategy missing this vital element?

Employees’ expectations during a crisis
The findings aligned with what majority of employees believe to be the most important crisis management tactic: listening to feedback (78%).

Unfortunately, only under half of workers said their employer has listened (47%) and acted (49%) on feedback more during the pandemic.

Despite this, employees are generally optimistic about life after COVID-19. Almost two-thirds of workers (65%) expect their industry will change for the better due to the changes implemented during the pandemic.

More than half of employee (57%) rated the way their employer’s response to the pandemic as ‘above average’.

Their working from home experience have also largely been positive. Just under half (42%) said their employee experience has improved during the pandemic, with others saying it’s remained the same.

Employees shared that the actions taken that have made them feel more valued included more workplace flexibility (51%), gratitude from direct managers (21%), and improved benefits (21%).

Read more: Almost all employees reject a return to the ‘old normal’

As leaders decide the next steps to best manage employees through the crisis, they can rely on some sound advice from Roberta Duarte, Asia Pacific HR head at Maersk.

In a panel discussion attended by HRD, Duarte had shared her leadership team’s mantra while managing through all the uncertainty.

“I think the most important thing was driving the process purposely,” Duarte said. “Meaning, we knew very much that the most important thing for us was our employees, and we put that at the centre of any decision

“We went with a very firm and continuous communication process [using] a multichannel way saying, ‘if you don’t know what to do, the first thing [to prioritise] is our employee safety and [caring] for yourself and for others’.

“When in doubt, go back to these three things.”

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