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Working from Home + Working at Office: The New Trend

  • 30 September, 2021
  • The Straits Times

2-12

With COVID-19 cases hitting all-time highs across the world, national governments have come to accept the fact that this pandemic is now becoming endemic. Life has resumed some semblance of normality as social distancing measures cool off and the population returns back to offices. However, to cater to the needs of employees and retain top talent in the company, employers are still pushing for more dynamic work arrangements.

Striking a balance between working from home (WFH) and being present in the office, we take a look at how organisations can cater to the rising trend of hybrid work arrangements in Singapore.

How to Adjust to the New Normal at Work

1. Ensure employees are well-supported at home

At the beginning of the WFH phase during social distancing, employers were expected to equip team members with sufficient technical support in the form of office desktops and monitors. These logistics were considered the bare essentials in enabling office staff to perform their basic duties at home. Yet given how WFH arrangements are the default measures where there is a surge in cases, more and more employees may look to upgrade their office spaces at home. Understanding that productivity at home correlates with comfort, employers may seek to invest in ergonomic furniture for their employees.

For example, chairs that promote proper posture and reduce physical strain are ways of channeling productivity while increasing employee satisfaction remotely. Going the distance, companies can even provide the same ergonomic office equipment that was utilised in their offices, for employees at home. This may help employees draw boundaries at home in their office space by providing a similar physical sensation of sitting at their office desk, thereby helping them clearly separate work from leisure.

2. Opt for movable furniture

In the realm of physical office spaces, employers can help manage comfort and morale by implementing movable furniture. An option geared towards more laissez-faire companies with no concrete seating arrangements, movable furniture encourages team intermingling and network formation. The benefits are obvious when there are multiple departments that are required to work together, and walking from office booth to office booth a dozen times an hour makes no sense.

With physical comfort in mind, movable furniture also extends to things like a standing office desk which offers employees a chance to be more active in the office and choosing how they want to work. A sign of good management in Singapore is trusting employees and affording them flexibility in work styles. This is paramount to creating the optimal workspace for them to return to while maintaining flexible work arrangements.

3. Invest in phone booths

It might seem strange reading the phrase ‘phone booths', an invention that has long disappeared since the advent of the cell phone. What many might not consider is the heightened need for privacy in the office. For office layouts that are a bit more open and fluid, employees should be given the same level of privacy and safety as they do at home when they return to the office. Of course, such issues were quelled in the past with the traditional high-walled office booths and cubicles. But as we see this new style of dynamic work arrangements roll in, Singapore organisations will do well to invest in soundproof office pods so team members can make calls and take Zoom meetings without interference.

4. Be well-stocked up with masks

Although Singapore is slowly steering towards classifying COVID-19 as endemic, health and safety cannot be ignored. Masks are still imperative in the office space, and all employers should make it a point to be well-stocked with masks in the office. Simply having them in bulk and located in convenient places shows employees that you value their safety and health first. Placing multiple boxes of 3-ply disposable face masks or even going as far as to provide team members with individual reusable masks are all ways for organisations to show they prioritise their workforce as they return to offices.

Making the Shift to Hybrid Work

Supporting the movement towards flexible work arrangements can be a challenge, but at Ergoworks we provide a full catalogue of ergonomic office equipment ranging from desks to chairs and even meeting booths. Head down to our showrooms in Singapore to check out the full collection today!

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