Singapore Banks Prepare for Post-Covid Normal

While the specter of Omicron hangs over Singapore, there are signs that the country’s economy is recovering from the Covid-induced crisis in 2020, and banks are adjusting their working arrangements for post-Covid normal.

As safe management measures and business continuity measures continue to be in place, Singapore banks are gradually increasing the number of on-site employees to adequately support the increase in economic activities, officials said. .

On January 1, more employees are allowed to return to their workplace, with up to 50 percent of employees who can work from home can be in the workplace at any time. The Department of Manpower (MOM) also increased the capacity for Work-Related Events (WRE) to 1,000 participants, up from 50 previously.

Gradual approach

“We give priority to the health and safety of our employees and we provide a measured response, in compliance with directives and regulations” Francisco John Celio, Group Corporate Security Officer, OCBC Bank, said

The UOB maintains the measures put in place by the bank, such as staggered start times, lunch breaks and end-of-day arrangements for colleagues working on site. “We remain cautious in our approach to bring more people back to the office. We are taking a phased approach so that 50% of our employees who worked from home return to the office ” Dean Tong, head of group human resources, UOB, said.

DBS takes a similar approach “The health and safety of our employees remains paramount even as we look forward to welcoming more colleagues in the new year. The work measures at the DBS office are in line with the government’s safe management measures differentiated by vaccination ”, he added. the bank spokesperson said.

Increased flexibility

Last year, DBS introduced a permanent hybrid work model and a formal job sharing program to provide more flexibility for employees.

Citi said its staff have benefited from the remote working aspects. “As such, we intend to create additional flexibility in the future, even when it becomes safe for us to be together again.” Sarab Preet Singh, Head of Human Resources for Singapore and ASEAN, said

OCBC has said it is preparing its workforce for a hybrid work regime. “The flexible working arrangements that were in place before the pandemic, such as working part-time and starting / ending earlier / later, will continue to be implemented,” OCBC’s Celio said.

“As we see more and more people gradually returning to the office, our end goal is a permanent hybrid working model that allows our employees to work remotely up to two days a week, giving them greater flexibility in managing their work-life and mental well-being priorities. be, ”UOB’s Tong said.

Employee well-being

Banks are also paying more attention to the mental well-being of their employees.

UOB has rolled out an Employee Wellness Program that includes various initiatives and resources needed to keep them connected and manage their wellness holistically no matter where they are, as well as a Benefits Program for welfare which offers credits to offset expenses ranging from sports activities to psychiatric treatment.

DBS has also launched a number of initiatives to protect the mental health of its staff as part of its “Together” employee movement to help its 12,000 employees manage their physical, emotional and mental well-being.

Only the vaccinated welcome

Currently, government requirements require that as of January 15, only workers who are fully vaccinated, certified medically ineligible, or who have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 180 days can return to work.

MOM also said employers should redeploy unvaccinated workers to jobs that can be done from home, with appropriate pay, put them on unpaid leave or terminate their jobs as a “last resort.”

Open borders

Monday, the Minister of Transport S. Iswaran Told parliament that Singapore intends to continue to gradually reopen its borders and plan to re-establish quarantine-free travel with more countries and regions, and it hopes to allow quarantine-free travel for all vaccinated travelers.

The city-state has temporarily halted the sale of new tickets for vaccinated flights and buses (VTL) from December 23 to January 20 due to Omicron concerns.


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