Back To Work Bonus: 6 Things That Employers Are Doing (Or Not Doing) To Encourage Employees To Return

The easing of work from home (WFH) default starting 01 Jan 2022 means that more employees are returning to the office – at least up to 50% of those who can WFH. This announcement from the multi-ministry taskforce comes after close to 2 years of WFH default. In Singapore, millions have already rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated, with many getting extra protection with the booster shot. As such, most companies have already been practising a hybrid model that provides flexible working arrangement especially for those who need to return to office due to the nature of their job scope.

With that said, let’s take a look at some local companies and see what they are doing (or not doing) to encourage employee to return to the office.

Read Also: Up To 50% Employees Can Return To Office: 5 Things Business Owners Need To Know About The Easing of WFH Default Starting 01 Jan 2022

Samuel’s Employer Provides Allowances To Staff Who Return To Work A Few Days A Week

Samuel from a Finance Services company shared with us that his company provides allowances to those returning to the office a certain number of days a week. He said the allowance can be treated as transport allowance or as meal allowance, as long as they return to the office a number of days per week.

As a service staff following up with clients on behalf of managers, he said while the allowance isn’t much ($100), it’s usually enough to cover his hawker meals whenever he returns to the office.

Mary’s Organisation Provides A Lot Of Flexibility When It Comes To Work Arrangements

Mary from a charity organisation said her boss opened up the department budget to allow colleagues to buy care packs and even send meals to one another. Her division also has a flexible work schedule where staff just need to come in two days a week. She said that as they are a charity organisation, their resources are tight. So, in place of monetary rewards, she and her colleagues are given a lot of flexibility for their working arrangements and timings.

For her, as a working mother of two young kids, the flexibility allows her to be there for her children’s milestones, like sending her kids for the first day of school. She also finds it easier to juggle between work and caring for her children with the flexi hybrid model in place at work.

Daniel’s Boss Bought A Massage Chair For The Office

Daniel’s boss recently bought a massage chair for the office for employees to use. Since hiring a masseuse can be costly, the next best thing would be to get a massage chair with unlimited massages.

As a video editor, Daniel spends long hours at his desk. So, having a massage chair in the office does help him knead out the stiff muscles from sitting too long at his desk. His company is also pretty small with only 5 colleagues, so there’s plenty of chance for everyone to sit on the massage chair.

While it’s fine and exciting at the beginning, Daniel has started to see some problems with the massage chair. The first issue he has with it is that everyone has to wipe the chair down before and after using it. The second issue is that the office space is quite small, which means no matter where the massage chair is positioned, it’ll be awkwardly facing someone or within the team’s sight. So, falling asleep in the massage chair can become embarrassing and colleagues can take photos of you dozing off.

Daisy’s Company Upgraded The Gym Equipment In The Office Gym

Already existing in the Head Quarters of a local company, Daisy’s office gym recently got an upgrade in terms of gym equipment such as treadmills, spin bikes and rowing machines. Daisy, who works in operations said her HR sent an email blast one day to inform everyone of the state-of-the-art upgrades in the gym. The email also encouraged employees to hit the gym to stay healthy and keep fit and promoted a healthy work life balance. 

Daisy said the gym upgrades did excite her and now she is considering working out more after work to get back in shape while at the same time relieve some mental stress. Daisy had also been looking around at nearby fitness centres but was appalled by their membership fees. So, this office gym upgrades came timely for her.

Read Also: 15 Work-Friendly Cafes For You To Get Your Productivity Game On

Jeffrey From One Of The FAANG Companies Provided Equipment Stipend

One of the FAANG companies has reportedly provided their employees $1,000 each to purchase items to build a home office. Jeffrey, who works in marketing said it is the second time he has received this stipend since 2020!

The first time he received the $1,000, he bought himself a Secret Lab chair, a 21” monitor screen for a dual screen setup and a ring light. The second time he received the cash, he simply deposited it into his account, as he had nothing else to buy to furnish his home office setup. He said that it has been more than one year since WFH had been the default, and he had gotten everything he needed within the first few months of WFH.

Wendy’s Company Provided Monthly WFH Allowance

Since the start of the pandemic, Wendy’s company have been providing their employees with monthly WFH allowance ($50) to help defray costs like their internet bills, utilities and miscellaneous upgrades to ensure a better WFH experience. However, since the start of 2022, her company has not mentioned whether the WFH allowance would be discontinued since her division has started returning to the office once a week.

Regarding the monthly allowance, she said, “While $50 seem like a small amount, it actually does offset my internet bill. Plus, it’s a monthly allowance and not a one-time thing. So, if you think about it, to date, my colleagues and I have already received quite a lot of money.”

*Names have been changed to retain anonymity of the individuals.

Read Also: Why 2022 May Be A Good Year For Gig Workers To Consider Switching To Full-Time Employment

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