It’s good to read that “9 in 10 want to continue working from home (WFH)” (ST 24 May).
While many see working from home becoming the new norm, the current mode of WFH may not be ideal for all – employees, managers, or organisations.
Each individual has his/her own style of working
One may work best when work and personal life are clearly separated while another enjoys working and having time to deal with personal or family needs concurrently.
Some have a conducive home environment for work, e.g. air-conditioned room with ergonomic table and chair as well as eye-friendly lighting. However, others may be sharing a dining table for 4 with another family member who is doing home-based learning (HBL) or WFH as well.
The pleasure of WFH was affected when parents had to cope with the pressure to supervise HBL with all the technical problems and productivity is likely to be affected.
Due to the urgent implementation of WFH, there was no time to establish engagement rules or get the relevant equipment to enhance productivity.
As there is still uncertainty about whether people will return to the workplace after the circuit breaker, companies and teams have not established if permanent changes to operations are needed.
What companies need to think about to make working-from-home sustainable
Now that both staff and management have experienced WFH, it is time for companies to review what worked and identify changes needed to facilitate more productive work, including making working-from-home more sustainable.
This may include companies doing bulk purchase for suitable work desks and chairs for the team or providing subsidy for workers who need to purchase proper equipment to work-from-home, as working on makeshift stools or in ergonomically-unsuitable arrangements may result in fatigue, backaches, strained eyes and other health issues which may affect performance.
MP Patrick Tay from West Coast GRC (Boon Lay) asked a question in Parliament on how MOM would determine workplace injuries in a work-from-home scenario.
MOM replied that work injury compensation insurance purchased by employers will cover employees who were injured while working at home. For a claim to be valid, there should be evidence that the accident occurred while in the act of working at home. All past eligible WIC claims arising from work-at-home situations were also successfully compensated or settled without disputes.
Ground rules for engagement, communication, and performance management should also be discussed and customized for WFH. For example, just as staff has normal working hours to about 6 pm in the workplace, the manager should try to avoid starting meetings after 5 pm though the staff is already home.
Everyone is entitled to plan time for self-care and be with family after work-hours unless there are work emergencies.
Make the new norm win-win.
This letter is contributed by Ean Yeo, a passionate advocate for work-life harmony and flexible work arrangements who has dedicated over a decade to promote positive work-life cultures and values amongst organisations and workers.
Featured photo: Property Guru
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