Singapore companies rapidly bringing the future of work to life: Aon survey



    • 75 per cent of surveyed organisations have made decisions on return-to-office timelines but only 25 per cent of the companies have a return date.
    • 33 per cent of companies expect returning workers to spend only two to three days per week in the office
    • Key issues shaping future-of-work definitions are addressing talent availability concerns, rethinking company cultures and digitalisation
    Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo by Ian Harber/Unsplash

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    Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, has released the results of a new global human resources (HR) pulse survey focused on the steps companies are taking to bring the future of work to life.

    Aon conducted its pulse survey from April 20-28, 2021, with a total of 1,451 human resources leaders and professionals responding globally. Complete study results, across multiple geographies and industries, are available here. 

    “The ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for an agile and resilient workforce,” said Peter Bentley, Global Chief Commercial Officer & Future of Work Leader for Human Capital solutions at Aon. “The focus on flexible working, while not new, has resulted in an unpacking of additional ‘future of work’ initiatives as highlighted by our survey findings. We see this trend continuing and driving positive momentum as companies build a more flexible, healthy workforce and invest in developing existing employee potential to drive innovation and performance.”

    Companies plan for return to the office, but not everyone and not every day

    In Singapore, 75 per cent of surveyed organisations have made decisions on return-to-office timeline but only 25 per cent of the companies have a return date.

    However, companies do not expect everyone to return to the office. Forty-nine percent of surveyed organisations expect fewer than 75 per cent of office workers to return onsite once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

    Additionally, flexible or hybrid working options are on the rise, with 33 per cent of companies expecting returning workers to spend only two to three days per week in the office, and another 17 per cent of companies opting to give employees a choice in terms of how much time they spend in the office.

    Supporting vaccine adoption through incentives

    As workers head back onsite, companies are taking a proactive and supportive approach to vaccine adoption; however, they are largely stopping short of mandates. Only five per cent of surveyed organisations in Singapore currently plan to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for employees where allowed by law, with another nine per cent of organisations actively considering this approach.

    Meanwhile, 34 per cent of organisations in Singapore are offering incentives to employees who receive COVID-19 vaccines, most often in the form of paid time-off to receive and recover from injections, and 46 per cent of companies are actively educating employees on the benefits of getting vaccinated.

    Future-of-work strategies and inclusion and diversity efforts are tightly linked

    Focused on the future, almost three in four surveyed companies (70 per cent) in Singapore have one or more teams or taskforces defining, managing and implementing the future of work. In addition, 80 per cent of organisations say they now have a clear and consistent definition for what the future of work means for their business or expect to have a definition in the next six months.

    The three most prevalent issues shaping future-of-work definitions in Singapore are addressing talent availability concerns, rethinking company cultures and digitalisation, cited by 93 per cent, 86 per cent and 80 per cent of companies, respectively.

    Looking more closely at inclusion and diversity efforts, 44 per cent of surveyed companies in Singapore state HR teams are most responsible for leading programmes in this area. Additionally, 86 per cent of firms have created or are planning to create inclusion and diversity metrics or goals to track progress, with diversity encompassing diversity of thought as well as employee demographics.

    Efforts to rethink location-based compensation continue

    With remote work on the rise, 69 per cent of surveyed organisations in Singapore have adjusted, or are considering adjusting, geographic pay differentials as a result of the pandemic. Among companies actively adjusting pay based on shifting employee locations, 87 per cent are re-examining pay rates using fresh market data and 39 per cent are adding more granularity to the geographic zones they consider.

    However, making adjustments of this nature isn’t without challenges. Top concerns for Singapore organisations include the difficulty of adopting and maintaining market-aligned pay rates across numerous locations (72 per cent) and employment-related concerns and work policies (67 per cent). In both cases, surveyed companied cited these issues as moderately, very or extremely challenging.

    Source: Aon plc (Press release)