Singapore companies bringing the future of work to life

Photo by Anthony Shkraba

Aon plc has released the results of a new global human resources (HR) pulse survey focused on the steps companies are taking to bring the future of work to life.

Aon conducted its pulse survey from April 20-28, 2021, with a total of 1,451 human resources leaders and professionals responding globally.  

“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.”

Companies plan for return to the office, but not everyone and not every day

In Singapore, 75% of surveyed organisations have made decisions on return-to-office timeline but only 25% of the companies have a return date.

However, companies do not expect everyone to return to the office. Forty-nine percent of surveyed organisations expect fewer than 75% of office workers to return onsite once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Additionally, flexible or hybrid working options are on the rise, with 33% of companies expecting returning workers to spend only two to three days per week in the office, and another 17% of companies opting to give employees a choice in terms of how much time they spend in the office.

Supporting vaccine adoption through incentives 

As workers head back onsite, companies are taking a proactive and supportive approach to vaccine adoption; however, they are largely stopping short of mandates. Only 5% of surveyed organisations in Singapore currently plan to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for employees where allowed by law, with another 9% of organisations actively considering this approach.

Meanwhile, 34% of organisations in Singapore are offering incentives to employees who receive COVID-19 vaccines, most often in the form of paid time-off to receive and recover from injections, and 46% of companies are actively educating employees on the benefits of getting vaccinated.

Future-of-work strategies and inclusion and diversity efforts are tightly linked

Focused on the future, almost three in four surveyed companies (70%) in Singapore have one or more teams or taskforces defining, managing and implementing the future of work. In addition, 80% of organisations say they now have a clear and consistent definition for what the future of work means for their business or expect to have a definition in the next six months.

The three most prevalent issues shaping future-of-work definitions in Singapore are addressing talent availability concerns, rethinking company cultures and digitalisation, cited by 93%, 86% and 80% of companies, respectively.

Looking more closely at inclusion and diversity efforts, 44% of surveyed companies in Singapore state HR teams are most responsible for leading programmes in this area. Additionally, 86% of firms have created or are planning to create inclusion and diversity metrics or goals to track progress, with diversity encompassing diversity of thought as well as employee demographics.

Efforts to rethink location-based compensation continue

With remote work on the rise, 69% of surveyed organisations in Singapore have adjusted, or are considering adjusting, geographic pay differentials as a result of the pandemic. Among companies actively adjusting pay based on shifting employee locations, 87% are re-examining pay rates using fresh market data and 39% are adding more granularity to the geographic zones they consider.

However, making adjustments of this nature isn’t without challenges. Top concerns for Singapore organisations include the difficulty of adopting and maintaining market-aligned pay rates across numerous locations (72%) and employment-related concerns and work policies (67%). In both cases, surveyed companied cited these issues as moderately, very or extremely challenging.