News: Singapore government issues advisory to help firms manage WFH

Employee Relations

Singapore government issues advisory to help firms manage WFH

Work from home and work suspension during COVID-19 could be mental health stressors. Here’s what employers and employees can do.
Singapore government issues advisory to help firms manage WFH

Last Friday, an inter-agency advisory on supporting the mental well-being of workers under COVID-19 work arrangements was launched jointly by MOM, MSF, AIC, IMH, and NCSS.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant disruptions to work arrangements. It has hit the economy hard and brought about many uncertainties to our workers, including employees and self-employed persons (SEP). Some employees may be anxious about their job security. Others, like SEPs, may worry about their work prospects and revenue sources. However, working remotely for a prolonged period may lead to social isolation.

During this period of uncertainty, employers and workers could consider taking practical steps, and tapping on counseling resources, to support one’s mental well-being.

Here are some steps that the employers can take to support their employees:

  • Keep employees on work suspension updated on the company’s salary and leave arrangements. Employers should adopt the practices in MOM’s advisory on salary and leave arrangements during periods of work suspension, and communicate their salary and leave policies to employees as early as possible.
  • Supervisors to check-in regularly (i.e. at least once a week) with staff. Supervisors could have informal conversations with staff on how they are coping, and encourage employees to support one another. There could be short sessions set aside before or after work discussions to chat on non-work topics.
  • Provide flexible work schedules for parents of young children. Supervisors could provide their staff with flexible work schedules and regular breaks even under WFH, to tend to their children’s Home-Based Learning. HR departments are encouraged to inform their employees of online parent support. 
  • Provide employees access to an external counseling service. Employers could consider signing up for an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) as part of staff benefits. HR departments should assure employees that counseling engagements would be kept private and confidential. SEPs may avail themselves of the counseling resources as well.
  • Employers may refer to the Mental Health Toolkit for Employers for more information and resources on raising mental health awareness, training, and supporting employees with mental health conditions.

Tips for employees and self-employed persons:

  • Maintain a circle of social support. 
  • Stay active and healthy
  • Have at least 7-8 hours of sleep every day
  • Eat a balanced diet to strengthen immunity
  • Continue to do moderate exercise every day
  • Take up one or two activities – e.g. reading a book, listening to music, learning a new skill online, etc.
  • Master a few simple relaxation techniques
  • Tap on grants and assistance available. For those concerned about income loss, the Government has introduced a range of support measures to help households and businesses including SEPs 
  • Find employment opportunities through the SGUnited Jobs initiative. This is an extension of employment facilitation efforts under the Adapt and Grow initiative to create about 10,000 jobs over the next one year and match jobseekers and workers affected by the current COVID-19 situation. 

These are among the few ways that the Government is urging companies to consider supporting their workers' mental well-being during the coronavirus pandemic. Also, read what governments around the world are doing to tackle the outbreak. 

Do share with us what your organization is doing to combat stress and burnout from WFH amid this disruption.

 

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Topics: Employee Relations, #COVID-19

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