6 in 10 Singaporeans uncomfortable returning to workplace

Even as businesses and workplaces reopen, 59% of employees in Singapore said they are not comfortable with returning to their offices.
By: | June 11, 2020

59% of Singaporeans said they are not comfortable in returning to their workplaces even if they are able to, according to Qualtrics’ Return to Work & Back to Business study.

Even as Singapore entered Phase One of the reopening of its economy on June 2, many employees are still required to work from home unless they have no other alternatives than to return to the workplace.

But with the transition into Phase Two happening as early as the end of June, employees will be able to return to their offices with safety measures and social distancing in place.

The survey, which asked 511 Singaporeans how confident they felt about returning to the workplace, found that while 66% of workers expect to return to the workplace by July, six out of 10 said they are not comfortable doing so.

Nearly half say a treatment (50%) or vaccine (45%) must be approved for them to feel comfortable returning to the workplace. Furthermore, 62% want to wait for local government approval before returning to work. This tops the list external conditions residents of Southeast Asia want to see before they return.

The survey found that before they feel ready to return to work, employees want their employers to put the following safety practices in place:

  • 69% of workers want all employees to be required to wear masks
  • 68% want hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies available throughout the office
  • 56% want social distancing enforced
  • 53% want temperature checks required
  • 52% want Employees who voluntarily travel for work or personal reasons to be required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days after

Once they do return to work, employees said they would feel more comfortable if the following measures are taken by their employer to protect themselves and their co-workers:

  • 95% of people said it was important to them that employees be required to wear masks
  • 93% of people said it was important to them that they are allowed to work remotely at any point if they feel unsafe
  • 93% of people said it was important to them to limit the number of people in an in-person work meeting
  • 92% of people said it was important to them that social distancing was implemented in the workplace
  • 90% of people said it was important to them that everyone has their temperature checked each day before entering the building

Mao Gen Foo, Head of Southeast Asia, urged employers to help their people transition back to the workplace at a safe and comfortable pace.

“With Circuit Breaker measures starting to lift, we are beginning to see businesses and workplaces reopen and return to normal. But as this occurs employers and businesses need to remember the pace with which they are re-opening might not match their employees’ or customers’ readiness to return,” he said.

“Employee and customer expectations have accelerated at an unprecedented rate in recent months, with more than half of Singaporeans feeling uncomfortable about returning.

“Organisations and governments need to understand how employee and customer behaviours and attitudes have changed so that they can take actions helping them feel confident during this next phase of the ‘new normal’,” he added.