Most of Singapore's workforce are expected to continue to work from home even after the circuit breaker ends on June 1, stressed Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.
Singaporeans need to embrace working from home as new norm
In a Facebook post on May 23, Wong, who is also co-chair of the Covid-19 Multi-Ministerial Task Force (MTF), said that Singaporeans will need to "embrace working from home as the new norm".
This comes after the MTF had previously announced on May 19 that most offices will be able to re-open after June 1, although telecommuting should be the main mode of work.
According to Wong, it is possible to work as productively at home as in the office, as shown during the circuit breaker period:
"We’re doing more remote meetings with our colleagues and realising that we can be just as productive at home as we have been in the office. The circuit breaker has showed us that we can work effectively in different ways."
This is why the government expects the vast majority of the workforce, especially office workers, to continue working from home as Singapore moves to phase 1 of post-circuit breaker plans.
Staff should only return to work "if they need specialised equipment and machinery that cannot be accessed from home, or if they need to fulfil legal requirements (eg to complete contracts or transactions)", Wong stated.
Employers need to ensure a safe working environment and offer staggered work hours
Additionally, Wong pointed out that "many employers and managers will need to adjust their mindsets to this new normal".
For example, employers could make hybrid arrangements for employers to work from home a few days in a week.
Employers also need to make sure that their working environment is safe for those who need to return to the office, and offer staggered work hours:
"It’s no longer about having all your staff physically present at work. Even if they have to be on site, consider if they really need to do so every day. You could have hybrid arrangements where your employees work from home a few days in a week. For those who absolutely need to be in the office, employers must ensure that the work environment is safe (eg maintain good ventilation and high hygiene standards, and have officers seated apart etc) and offer them staggered work hours."
Wong concluded by saying that all these workplace measures will "reduce the need for daily movement of people, and minimise the risks of the virus flaring up again."
You can view his full post here:Top image via Lawrence Wong on Facebook