This article is part of our Essential Guide: Essential Guide: How APAC firms can ride out the pandemic

Singapore employees want more support for remote working

Singapore workers faced challenges in accessing internal company resources, spotty connections and had to use their personal devices for business while working remotely

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Singapore employees are coming to terms with remote working even as they struggle with technological and productivity challenges, a study has found.

According to Dell Technologies’ inaugural Remote work readiness (RWR) index, 84% of employees in Singapore felt that they were prepared for long-term remote working, though the blurring boundary between business and personal lives was a significant concern for 35% of respondents.

Conducted by market research firm Kanter across seven Asia-Pacific (APAC) markets, the study also revealed that employer support for remote working remains wanting.

In terms of technology resources, the surveyed employees faced the greatest challenge in accessing internal company resources when Singapore implemented a partial lock-down in April 2020.

They were also hindered by the instability of their remote networks, including internet bandwidth, and had to contend with using personal devices for work, posing IT security risks to their organisations. 

Against this backdrop, nearly half of Singapore respondents felt that their employers were not doing everything they could to support effective remote working.

“Employees had to pivot to a remote work arrangement overnight, and it is not surprising that they have concerns about long-term remote work,” said Eric Goh, vice-president and managing director for Singapore at Dell Technologies.

“The good news is that employees are ready to continue working remotely, but they hope to see greater support from their employers,” he added.

According to the study, about four in 10 employees in Singapore wanted employers to provide productivity equipment or tools and ensure they get access to internal company resources.

In terms of human resources (HR) support, Singapore employees cited the lack of in-person communication as a top challenge, in addition to gaps in team engagement, learning and development, and outdated policies for remote working.

To successfully manage long-term remote working, over half of Singapore employees surveyed wanted best-practice training for remote working, learning and development sessions (46%), and team engagement initiatives (45%).

“Work today is no longer anchored to one place and time,” said Goh. “Instead, it is focused on outcomes. Forward-looking employers must be ready to help their employees realise both their professional and personal roles effectively regardless of where they will be working – this is work redefined.”

According to the 2020-2021 TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT priorities survey, investments in remote working and cyber security have become easier to justify than before as more companies come to terms with managing a remote workforce.

The survey, which polled 265 IT decision-makers across APAC, found that remote working enablement initiatives had accelerated since the start of the pandemic (40%), along with security and risk management as cited by a third of respondents.

These investments were needed as APAC firms sought to keep their businesses going amid the pandemic, with other investments on the horizon that will enable them to take advantage of new opportunities that have emerged.

Key to the latter are capabilities to improve productivity, with 38% of respondents planning to enable more automation around technology management so that employees can focus their attention on innovation and value-added initiatives.

Read more about IT in APAC

  • Modernising its infrastructure and putting digital at its core has given Singapore’s Government Technology Agency the agility it needs to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Malaysia’s AmBank Group is tapping open source, DevOps and data science to improve customer service and develop bespoke services for a broader market.
  • Indonesia’s Bank Mandiri has built a big data platform to track transactions and monitor the health of its workforce, among other big data analytics initiatives.
  • Australia’s ANZ Bank now runs 30% of its internet banking services on Red Hat OpenShift in a move that has energised developers and paved the way for more automation.

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