Will offices remain empty post pandemic?

Singapore firms won't be expecting everyone back in anytime soon

Will offices remain empty post pandemic?

Most employers in Singapore (75%) are gearing up for their return to the office, yet only one in four have set a date as to when they’re heading back. The findings suggest that, while companies are eager to return to the worksite with their staff in full force, they are taking their time figuring out just how the world of work will look like post-COVID 19, a new study from professional services firm Aon revealed.

For one, employers don’t expect everyone on the team to be back in the office right away. About half of companies surveyed by Aon said less than 75% of office-based staff will head back to a shared physical location. This coincides with the fact that a third of companies see their teams spending only two to three days a week onsite (33%). Other employers are giving staff members the freedom to determine how much time they’ll allocate to in-office work (17%), Aon found.

Read more: Vaccination incentives shouldn't be 'coercive'

Because of the health risks posed by face-to-face interactions, employers said they understand the need for staff to be vaccinated. Respondents are encouraging workers to take the COVID-19 vaccine but are hesitant about making it a requirement for returning to the office. “Only five per cent of surveyed organisations in Singapore currently plan to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for employees where allowed by law, with another nine per cent of organisations actively considering this approach,” researchers from Aon said. Other employers are using their influence:

  • 46% are educating staff about the advantages of COVID-19 vaccination
  • 34% are offering incentives to employees who receive the vaccine

Read more: Employers dangle freebies to encourage vaccinations

“The ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for an agile and resilient workforce,” said Peter Bentley, Global Chief Commercial Officer & Future of Work Leader for Human Capital solutions at Aon. “The focus on flexible working, while not new, has resulted in an unpacking of additional ‘future of work’ initiatives as highlighted by our survey findings. We see this trend continuing and driving positive momentum as companies build a more flexible, healthy workforce and invest in developing existing employee potential to drive innovation and performance.”

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