IN FOCUS: Thinking out of the cubicle - what lies ahead for hybrid working? I CNA
SINGAPORE: Like most office workers, economist Song Seng Wun used to spend his workdays behind a desk at his bank and never questioned it. Now, after being forced to work from home during the “circuit breaker” period last year, he has adjusted to a new rhythm.
His mornings are spent at the office, then he may have meetings outside or travel around the island to check on any economic developments that piqued his interest - taking him to a manufacturing plant in Tuas or an airfield in Seletar.
Later in the afternoon, he settles down at a pub near his home in Tanjong Pagar to go through reports and other reading material – washed down with a gin and tonic or a beer. He thinks he gets more done now, with the flexibility to structure his own time.
“Technology essentially allows us to be more mobile … then the mindsets of companies and bosses were forced to change. If not for the pandemic and workers being stuck at home, most employers would have been reluctant to let workers out of their sight,” said the 61-year-old analyst from CIMB.
Regular meetings, in teams or one-on-one, are still important to build rapport and engagement, he said. On the other hand, he also recommends blocking out time without meetings, Zoom calls, or other interruptions for “deep work” that requires greater concentration and creativity.
Mr Asif Upadhye, Director at work culture consultancy Never Grow Up, recommends sensitising managers to acknowledge that employees need to divert their time for wellness, family and relaxation.
One option is to have employee calls once or twice a month where there’s no work talk, but is used as a time to unwind, he said.
“This can be spent chatting, playing fun and easy online games or even just do a session of charades while you speak about anything under the sun, except work.”