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8 in 10 Singapore employees prefer to work from home, but are employers equally keen?

Ng Qi Siang
Ng Qi Siang 12/16/2020 11:40 AM GMT+08  • 3 min read
8 in 10 Singapore employees prefer to work from home, but are employers equally keen?
Only 39% of Singaporean respondents felt that their employers were fully supportive of long-term work.
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Even as Singapore shifts to Phase 3 of circuit breaker measures on Dec 28 this year, work from home (WFH) measures appear to be here to stay. A survey by Dell Technologies found that 84% of Singapore’s workforce feel prepared for long-term work from home arrangements - a figure greater than the Asia-Pacific & Japan (APJ) figure of 81%.

A total of over 7,000 working professionals aged 18 and above from seven markets across APJ - 1,030 of whom were from Singapore - were surveyed based on the Remote Working Readiness Index developed by Dell Technologies. The index examined data on employee readiness for long-term remote work and their views on factors key to its success.

Despite the enthusiasm for WFH among workers, only 39% of Singaporean respondents felt that their employers were fully supportive of long-term work. This was lower than the APJ average of 46%. And this was also in spite of 6 in 10 Singapore employees having already worked from home even before the circuit breaker.

Only 38% of Singaporean respondents respectively felt that employers were offering sufficient HR support for WFH. The top three concerns are lack of access to internal company resources (35%), stability of remote networks (29%) and the need to use personal productivity equipment or tools for WFH (28%).

The latter concern in particular, says Eric Goh, vice-president and managing director, Singapore, Dell Technologies, is a particularly worrying trend given the cybersecurity risks involved in using personal devices for work. This is especially as cyberattacks have increased with the onset of the pandemic. “I think we are putting the company at risk,” he warns, noting that 28% is a rather high number.

SEE:Businesses need to brace for 'radical' changes from emerging technologies, says Dell study

On the HR front, 49% of respondents think that employers are not doing enough in terms of providing technology resources for WFH. 44% of respondents also miss in-person communication that comes with working in an office. The lack of interaction with employers, says Goh, also increases job insecurity as workers feel at risk of being “out of sight and out of mind”.

Many also felt that there was a lack of team engagement initiatives and best practice training for remote working (39%), as well as training and development sessions including for the use of virtual tools (36%). The latter was especially concerning for older workers aged 55 and above.

“Employees had to pivot to a remote work arrangement overnight, and it is not surprising that they have concerns about long-term remote work,” says Goh. Forward-looking employees, he adds, must help employees realise both professional and personal roles whether they work on-site or off-site.

On its part, Dell has been working to make remote working a part of its corporate culture. Goh says that 65% of its employees enjoyed the flexibility to work either from home or from the office. This made the transition to WFH measures during circuit breaker - which saw about 90% of employees working from home - much easier, with more than half of employees likely to remain on remote work arrangements going forward.

“The future workplace is really hybrid. We need to support our particular customers on how to navigate these new work realities,” concludes Goh. “We need to embrace flexibility [and] help our customers implement what is needed so that they can support their staff,” he adds.

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