Almost Half Of Singaporean Workers Threaten To Quit Their Jobs If Employers Force Them Back Into Office Full-time

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 31 October 2022

88% of Singaporeans say they want to work remotely at least once a week.

Like other employees around the globe who have become accustomed to a hybrid work environment, Singaporeans are pushing back on employers who insist they return to the office full-time. According to a new study by Employment Hero, 81% of Singaporean workers are keen to take on a permanent remote position, and 46% of remote and hybrid workers would even consider leaving their jobs if employers forced them to return to the office full-time.

According to its 2022 Remote Work Report which polled close to 1,000 Singaporean knowledge workers, Gen Z and Millennials aged 18-35 were the main drivers of this trend, with 60% of those surveyed within this age group more likely to still work fully remotely.  

Location fluidity was cited as one of the main reasons for Singaporeans to want to work remotely, with 30% of Singaporean workers having moved further away from the office or taken a working holiday while working remotely. Additionally, the rise of remote work has also brought about fresh opportunities Singaporeans are keen to pursue. This was particularly prominent amongst Gen Zs who are 78% more likely to consider moving abroad. 

The Current State of Work

While 84% of employees worked remotely or in a hybrid style from 2020 and 2021, the return to a post-pandemic ‘normal’ saw 41% returning to the office full-time this year. Of these, 49% stated that their return was due to their employer’s directive.

With the rising cost of living and talks of an upcoming recession, over half of Singaporean knowledge workers have a secondary income stream to relieve some of their financial burdens. Although 48% agreed that sometimes their other income streams take away their focus from their primary job, 81% stated that their side income does not affect their productivity at work.

Additionally, respondents also said that remote or hybrid work has been better for their work-life balance, mental health, quality of work, productivity, and innovation. More importantly, Singaporean workers also believe that it supports diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), with 64% of workers from marginalised groups agreeing that remote work protects them from discrimination.

The Future Is Flexible

There is a clear preference amongst Singaporean knowledge workers for being able to work remotely, particularly in a hybrid model where they are able to enjoy the best of home and office settings.

“With a majority of employees having returned to the office full-time, work seems to have returned to some form of ‘normalcy’ – but employers need to be wary of pushing employees back into the ‘traditional’ model of work and be mindful that talent won’t forget the positive impact working remotely or in a hybrid setting had on their mental health and work-life balance,” said Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer at Employment Hero.

“Companies looking to implement remote work should be ready to support their remote workers’ needs, being especially aware that these will differ across regions. In Singapore for example, better advocacy of work-life balance, additional financial support such as subsidising utilities, upskilling opportunities and the proper use of digital tools to maximise employees’ time and output are high on the list of priorities that employees look for in terms of support.

“We are in an era where employee working habits are shaping the employment landscape, Millennials and Gen Zs are driving working trends, and employers need to be willing to listen. The future of work is undoubtedly flexible; employers must adapt and engage with their workforce if they hope to successfully attract and retain great talent, or risk losing out,” Hattingh added. 

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