As a small SME pursuing our passion for delivering great mobile application experiences in Singapore, it is our responsibility to take care of our greatest asset – our human resource.
Unlike big corporations or MNCs with a standard protocol to follow in times of work disruption, we had to rely heavily on our own resources and intuition on the next steps to take.
Now that the Singapore Government has officially allowed the workforce to go back to office, we reflect on the things we did as a company to adapt to COVID-19.
What Our Front Row View of Transportation Volume Told Us
As developers of the very popular SG BusLeh (iOS | Android) bus arrival timing app for commuters (9.6 million app launch per month, pre-covid), we have also made similar observations as Minister Ong with regards to passenger volume based on our app usage patterns.
With a front row view of transportation volume, we had weeks before taken the initiative to modify our working hours such that we only work from 10am to 5pm on the days where we are visiting the office to avoid the peak travel periods – exactly what Minister Ong has suggested.
The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) was set up in 2006 by the tripartite partners (Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress, and Singapore National Employers Federation), to promote the adoption of fair, responsible and progressive employment practices. In view of our work from home initiatives, we have been officially recognized as adopters of the Tripartite Standards and are proud to adopt the tripartite pledge.
Circuit Breaker Work From Home Arrangements
From as early as March this year, we have also taken initiative to implement a two weeks work from home (WFH) trial to familiarize our team with remote work and commute.
Hence, when the circuit breaker measures were announced on 7 April, our team was well prepared, safe and healthy and were able to transit smoothly.
Thankfully, our niche is in mobile app design and development, which means that a lot of things we deal with are software-based. This definitely contributed to the ease in our transition to a WFH workflow.
Post Circuit Breaker
This period of time adapting to COVID-19 safety measures taught us a lot. One thing we knew for sure was that we were presented with a rare opportunity to change our work and travel habits, and we weren’t going to waste it.
Hence, instead of getting everyone back in office once we were allowed to, we introduced a bi-weekly physical meetup first, where the team only goes back to the office once every two weeks to have meetings and settle paperwork that have to be done in person.
Now, we meet once a week, gradually increasing the frequency of our physical meetups and still only travelling during off-peak hours, all while being mindful of the COVID-19 situation in Singapore.
This process really helped our team to become more flexible and agile with toggling between office and working from home.
We hope that other SMEs would also answer Minister Ong’s call to make changes to work schedules to help protect and safeguard their employees’ well-being.
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