Will You Return To The Office Now That Phase 3 Is Here?
HWM Singapore|February 2021
When Covid-19 struck, it took us all by surprise. Even as businesses and governments took unprecedented steps and implemented a circuit breaker (cb), meaning employees had to get used to what is now being called the “new normal”.
Ken Wong

As we began to Work- From- Home (WFH), we began to embrace tools like Zoom and Microsoft’s Teams as webcams and stable Internet access became increasingly important and overseas travel became a fond memory.

Eric Goh, Vice President & Managing Director, Singapore, Dell Technologies said that Dell expects that 60% of their workforce will stay remote or have a hybrid schedule where they work from home most of the time. So collaboration tools will be critical in ensuring a smooth transition to the hybrid work culture.

As Goh put it, “Work today is no longer anchored to one place and time. Instead, it is focused on outcomes.”

But we seem to have made it through what may be the worst of Covid-19 in Singapore, we’ve entered Phase 3 of re-opening where for some, the return to the office may be possible. But after almost a year at home, are we really ready to go back? Are our offices ready for us to go back? What if Covid-19 returns?

WERE WE READY FOR WFH CHALLENGES?

Dell Technologies recently carried out a survey in Asia with some 1,000 working professionals from Singapore and found out that 80% of them were ready for long-term remote work but were worried about productivity challenges. We asked human resource firm

Indeed about work trends during the last year and they said that many companies had seen little to no impact on productivity. And given the circumstances people are working in - the stress of the virus, many caring for young children and home-schooling - the fact we haven’t seen a drop in productivity is remarkable and showed what a viable option working remotely was.

COVID-19 HAS TAUGHT US TO REMAIN FLEXIBLE AND BE QUICK TO RESPOND, REDESIGN, REINVENT, AND ADAPT TO THE CHALLENGES HEADON BY EMBRACING AUDIO AND VIDEO COLLABORATION TECHNOLOGY THAT IS EASY-TO-INSTALL AND MANAGE, TO REDUCE DOWNTIME AND LOST PRODUCTIVITY.

Communications solutions provider Poly’s Managing Director for ASEAN & Korea, Samir Sayed, said that Poly had been working from a hybrid work model from Pre-Covid times and that he’s been encouraged to see businesses and employees investing in collaboration tools. “Technology has a big role to play in creating the next normal, and if anything, COVID-19 has taught us to remain flexible and be quick to respond, redesign, reinvent, and adapt to the challenges head-on by embracing audio and video collaboration technology that is easy-to-install and manage, to reduce downtime and lost productivity,” Sayed said.

Fernando Serto, Akamai Head of Security Technology and Strategy, APJ said that working from home can be challenging and creates more opportunities for inadvertent data and privacy challenges. So, employees encouraged to follow good practices when dealing with data and across devices.

Serto added that with the pandemic, businesses had to adopt strategies to enable their workforce to work remotely, and those that traditionally did not have a BYOD or BCP strategy in place found themselves unprepared and without a security strategy to protect their remote teams. Akamai cautioned that the convenience that digitalisation brings and the increase in app usage indicate more traffic and a greater attack surface that needs to be managed effectively.

ADDRESSING EMPLOYEE CONCERNS

Ultimately it boils down to Government regulations and company policy as to whether employees return to the office, continue to work from home or a hybrid of both.

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