46% will increase investments in technology to improve workforce agility

  • 40% of respondents are fully-equipped to support remote working
  • 14% expect to offer remote working as an employee benefit in the future after seeing positive results
  • Local companies are taking short-term measures to protect their workforce and mitigate losses

23 APRIL 2020, SINGAPORE – In a pulse survey conducted by Randstad Singapore, 46 per cent of respondents said that they will increase investments to improve their technology capabilities after COVID-19.

The Randstad Singapore’s COVID-19 Employer Pulse Survey was conducted between 17 and 26 March, 2020 with 312 employers and HR professionals to further understand business sentiments and workforce management in light of the pandemic.

Ms. Jaya Dass, Managing Director, Malaysia and Singapore at Randstad said, “Before COVID-19, many companies would have already shifted to cloud infrastructure and replaced all their employees’ desktops with laptops. These efforts are part of the government’s and companies’ push to create a digital economy in Singapore.”

“However, when employees work from home for a prolonged period of time, they start to face new and unanticipated challenges. For example, workers may not be able to access encrypted files from the network due to incompatible software or an unstable VPN access. While some of these issues could be resolved remotely by network engineers, companies will need to find a longer-term solution to enable remote working and ensure productivity.”

2 in 5 respondents are fully equipped with the necessary infrastructure to support remote work

Apart from the 40 per cent of respondents are fully equipped with the necessary infrastructure, 46 per cent said that they will increase investments in technology to improve overall organisational agility.

  • 15 per cent of all respondents will issue laptops to their employees to enable remote working;
  • 19 per cent will review and upgrade their digital infrastructure to ensure effective communication, collaboration and productivity; and
  • 12 per cent will upgrade their network security system to protect their company’s files and data.

Dass adds, “Companies will learn of the gaps in their technology during this period. They may also realise that it can be difficult to assign tasks and monitor their team’s progress. These challenges could hinder workflow processes, decision making, speed to market and the overall performance capabilities of the workforce.”

“As employers, it is our responsibility to make sure that collaborations continue to take place, especially when our staff are working remotely. This means making sure that they have adequate resources to work with each other. For example, companies should invest in a good and secured teleconferencing system or a project management tool that can be synced to your network.”

14 per cent expect to offer remote working as an employee benefit in the future after seeing positive results

Even in this unique situation, there is a silver lining for employees. After being able to observe the productivity levels of their employees after implementing work-from-home measures, 14 per cent of respondents said that they expect to offer remote working as an employee benefit in the future.

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Dass said, “Employers may not have offered remote working as an employee benefit before COVID-19 as they were concerned about how it would impact productivity levels. However, this pandemic has allowed organisations to conduct an experiment to test their workforce productivity levels as well as the feasibility of their flexible and remote working policies. We would definitely see more companies develop more robust policies in flexible working arrangements and remote working from what they’ve learned during this period.”

Companies taking measures to protect workforce

Between 17 and 26 March 2020, when the survey was conducted, 41 per cent of respondents said that they are still hiring for replacement and critical roles. However, 40 per cent of respondents have frozen headcount and 16 per cent said that they are applying other measures to mitigate losses.

“The top priority for businesses and HR leaders in Singapore is to protect their existing workforce. Workers are relying on their companies to ensure their continued employment, especially during such unprecedented and concerning times like this. We’ve already seen some companies make short-term adjustments to their cost structure to ensure that their staff remains employed and protect their business baseline.”

“However, many companies are also conscious of business continuity and economic resurgence in the coming quarters. Employers are taking this time to identify, interview and pipeline talent to ensure that they have talent equipped with the right skills for when operations can be resumed,” Dass concluded.

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