When businesses in Singapore were told that telecommuting for all employees would be the default to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep them safe, Sing Fuels did not quite face teething troubles. Sing Fuels had adopted a flexible work arrangement for many of its employees prior to COVID-19.

While enterprises were scrambling to adjust to the unexpected shift in working arrangement on the fly, Sing Fuels were well prepared for a smooth transition for its people; providing adequate equipment, guidelines on using collaborative tools e.g. Teams, etc.

Sing Fuels was also quick to realise that remote working was not going to transpire as temporary solution in view of COVID-19 and, instead, would be redefined as a New Normal. This in turn has exposed us to a myriad of opportunities and benefits along with new responsibilities for both the employer and employee. Recently, Sing Fuellers participated in a survey and shared their views on Flexi-Work Arrangements. Their positive comments were as follows:

Lower Expenses & Time Wastage

Albeit a small country, it may still take an hour or so for many to reach work during peak hours in the morning. Inevitably, with working from home, all staff save time and money in commuting. With this extra time in hand, many were able to allocate it to doing things enjoy; work out, cook, attend to chores. This has definitely brought about a positive impact on us.

Enhanced Productivity

According to the survey conducted internally, 80% of us felt that they were much more productive while working from home compared to office.  A few factors that contributed to this was that there were less distractions at home, more time to complete daily tasks and better cadences with their managers. Undoubtedly, our deliverables overall have been up to the mark and the Management is consistently formulating methods to improve our productivity.

Better Collaboration with Overseas Colleagues

75% of our colleagues found communicating with our colleagues overseas, on different time zones, easier. Although the communication was prevalent before COVID-19, colleagues were far lesser worn out doing so from their homes.

Now, it’s not always rainbows and sunshine when we make a sudden shift. With the Pros, comes the cons. A few of us did not find Working from Home as beneficial. Their comments are as follows:

Reduced Camaraderie

We missed the vibrant synergies shared with our Team members. Whilst in office, a problem (if any) could have been solved in a jiffy with immediate brainstorming and communication. However, while at home, we often fail to identify as quickly if a team member is available.

Social Isolation

Speaking to your favourite co-workers over a screen is never the same as seeing them in office and giving them a Hi-5 first thing in the morning. We missed the boisterous lunch time, a pat on our back for a job well done and the mini celebrations for small triumphs. The feeling of isolation and being disconnected can be a tormenting. Hence, it has always been important for each one of us to check in on our colleagues regularly.

Unplugging from Work

23% of our colleagues found working from home to have a negative impact on their work-life balance. More than often while we are working from home, we tend to be so engrossed, we fail to segregate some Me/Family time from Work hours. We may even find more distractions at home that halts our focus and hence the stretch in working hours.

In conclusion, for any shift to be successfully adopted, clear guidelines should be set and the organisation on a whole should be open to learn along the way and improvise. Over the months, Sing Fuels have learnt that a blended approach to flexible working arrangements may circumvent any productivity issues. Rest assured, its people will be well involved and informed in the new work arrangements with the company.