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ChapmanCG Surveys Singapore HR Leaders on How They Are Battling the Haze

For residents and visitors, it’s been impossible to escape the haze that’s settled over Singapore. This year has been particularly bad causing flight cancellations, school closures, and numerous public events and outdoor activities to be postponed or cancelled altogether. A number of Indonesian provinces have declared a state of emergency and Singapore’s Ministry of Health has introduced a Haze Subsidy Scheme to help its citizens cope with the additional healthcare costs due to the increase in respiratory illnesses.

The annual haze has not always garnered significant international attention, but the global consequences of this local problem are now widely acknowledged, due to carbon emissions that have widespread repercussions, making this the largest environmental disaster in the region.

We conducted a brief survey of over 650 HR Leaders in Singapore to see what actions their companies were taking to help employees deal with the haze and if it has affected productivity. A summary of the results follows:

  • Over 85% of respondents are providing their employees with either free or discounted masks to wear on days when the haze is particularly high.
  • More than half of the responding companies allowed employees in non-essential roles to work from home.
  • Most are keeping employees abreast of relevant information on PSI readings and the associated risks.
  • Half of the companies say that absenteeism hasn’t been greatly affected, while the other half report a marginal increase.
  • 80% of respondents believe that the continual haze has little to no effect on Singapore’s reputation as a location of choice for senior and strategic roles, while 20% believe it does.

Other insightful interventions by companies include:

  • Temporary home leave or offshore arrangements for those with health risks,
  • Establishing contingency haze response plans or formal haze protocols,
  • Providing eye drops (in addition to masks),
  • Minimising travel to affected countries, and
  • Closing offices when haze is particularly high.

Looking outside of their organisations, some companies are, or are considering, temporarily suspending relationships with corporations that are linked to causing the haze.

It is clear from our results that organisations in Singapore are affected by the haze and are prioritising employee welfare, but most are reporting no significant impact to business operations to date. We will continue to track the actions that companies are taking to help employees battle this annual phenomenon, as well as any effects on the business climate.


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