Challenges Of Running A Local Business In Singapore In A Fast-Changing Global World

Since the start of 2020, COVID-19 has made the world that we know around us smaller. Being a well-traveled group, Singaporeans were no longer able to travel overseas for leisure, work or education.

For many business owners, 2020 was a year of adjustments. Business owners had to embrace work-from-home (WFH) arrangements, and for some companies, even review and reduce their headcounts.

For Singapore businesses with a regional or international presence, COVID-19 didn’t just affect their business in Singapore but in overseas markets as well. For Singapore business owners who were used to traveling overseas to manage their overseas staff, 2020 was a year where they had to trust their local employees in these overseas markets.

Whether you intend to hire a foreigner to expand to overseas markets, or to supplement your local workforce in Singapore, it’s never easy to be hiring foreign employees. For a start, if you intend to bring them to work in Singapore, you will need to understand the various types of employment passes in Singapore such as Work Permit, S Pass and Employment Pass. Each of these employment passes comes with its own strict criteria that employers of foreign workers have to adhere to.

For example, S Pass holders have to be paid a minimum qualifying salary of $2,500.  If you underpay or over-declare the salaries of your foreign workers, this can be considered a crime.

Read Also: Hiring Foreign Employees In Singapore: Why Underpaying Or Over-Declaring Salaries Is Against The Law

Even for businesses that are based only in Singapore but have customers or viewers that are based overseas, having an international audience also brings it with some challenges.

A recent regulation stipulated by YouTube essentially indicated that Singapore YouTube content creators would need to pay taxes to the U.S. government for advertising revenue generated from U.S. viewers.

For example, a Singapore-based YouTube channel that generates 50% of its viewers, and thus 50% of its revenue from the U.S., will now need to pay up to 30% of its U.S. earnings to the U.S. government. This is on top of any taxes that will also need to pay to the Singapore government.

In other words, even if you are a local company that operates only in Singapore, you may still be liable for taxes overseas if your online customers or viewers are from an overseas country.

Read Also: YouTube Partner Programme: Singaporean YouTubers Have To Pay Taxes On U.S. Earnings From 2021

With remote working being the norm for some companies, many of us may not see our colleagues regularly, even if we are all living in Singapore. 

This is why finding ways to build team chemistry outside of the office is essential.

As per MOM advisory on 5 April 2021, up to 8 people from a company can now attend recreational or social gatherings such as team bonding sessions. This is good news for small teams that have not been able to gather together over the past year for team-bonding activities.

If you are keen to arrange something for your team, you can consider signing up for some escape room adventures. Priced from about $20 per pax, this is a great way for you and your colleagues to destress after what has been a difficult past 12 months.

Read Also: Breaking Out: 5 Escape Rooms In Singapore For Team Bonding (Up To 8 Pax)

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