Workplace redesign on the cards for Singapore’s financial institutions

To prepare for workplaces in a post-COVID era, banks and financial institutions are redesigning their workplaces and adopting flexible work arrangements.
By: | March 25, 2021

As the pandemic has drastically changed how workers live and work, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore’s (ABS) Return to Onsite Operations Taskforce have commissioned The Study on Future Workplaces.  

The study, involving five months of research, recommended various workplace redesign strategies targeted to help businesses offering essential financial services build resilience in their operations, said ABS. 

The strategies, which addressed issues such as how work spaces should be redesigned and measures for crowd management, were put together by a team of experts from banks and other relevant industries.  

Suggestions included integrating essential safe-management measures into the future workplace – from maintaining safe-distancing markers in public areas to having allocated restrooms for different teams. Also, instead of the traditional assigned seating arrangement, workspaces can feature flexible spaces like conference rooms, work bistros, huddle rooms and focus rooms. 

The study also recommended the creation of business resilience plans, which includes permitting staff who can work remotely to do so, and having upskilling programmes that produce more versatile employees. 

MAS deputy managing director for financial supervision Ong Chong Tee said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed a rethink of traditional workplace models.” He called on financial institutions to adopt the recommended workplace redesign strategies, which would help prepare them for situations in future which may require safe distancing and work-from-home arrangements. 

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The study incorporated inputs from experts on managing infectious diseases and designing workplaces for health and safety, including Singapore’s chief health scientist Tan Chorh Chuan, National Centre for Infectious Diseases senior consultant Kalisvar Marimuthu and the National University of Singapore’s School of Design and Environment dean Lam Khee Poh, according to The Straits Times.