Singapore to allow more workers to return to workplace

More employees will be allowed to return to the office subject to capacity limits, although work-from-home remains the default mode of working.
By: | September 23, 2020

More workers in Singapore will be allowed to return to the workplace from September 28, subject to conditions such as capacity limits, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The latest announcement came in light of the falling number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“This update has been carefully considered to balance the concerns of employers regarding the impact of extended periods of working-from-home on productivity and workplace relations, while creating safe workplaces for employees,” MOH said.

MOH said that while employers are able to get more workers back to the office, no more than half should return to the workplace at any point in time.

It also added that working from home remains the default mode of working. And should employees return to the workplace, employers are encouraged to stagger reporting times and implement flexible work arrangements to avoid peak hours travels.

“In particular, we would like employers to put in place arrangements for the employees to be able to work partly at home and partly at the workplace, so it doesn’t have to be (an) ‘either-or’ (arrangement) but it can be a combination of both,” said co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong on September 23.

“For example, they can (work) in blocks of 10am to 4pm, or 1(pm) to 5pm in the office, and then the rest of the time they can work from home. So these sorts of hybrid combinations should be adopted by employers,” he added.

Meanwhile, work-related events such as conferences, seminars, corporate retreats, annual general meetings and extraordinary general meetings within the office space will also be allowed to resume.

However, up to 50 people can attend these events, and safe management measures must be implemented.

Large scale events such as team bonding activities and gala dinners are still not permitted, even if they are held at the workplace.