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ChapmanCG Surveys HR Heads to Assess the Impact of Air Pollution in Singapore

The Chapman Consulting Group was contacted by a number of global and regional HR heads to check what Singapore-based HR Leaders are currently doing to ensure employee safety as well as business continuity, so that initial thoughts can be shared during this critical time.

We polled 160 HR leaders from Singapore-based multinational companies to get a better understanding of the fast-changing situation. Results show that while multinational companies are well placed to respond, the majority of HR leaders believe that ongoing air pollution will damage Singapore’s reputation as a business-friendly working environment

HR Air Pollution Survey Results:

  • 45% of Singapore-based HR leaders surveyed responded that they are encouraging employees to work from home until air pollution levels subside
  • 74% of Singapore-based HR leaders surveyed are currently providing some level of emergency assistance to employees
  • 35% of Singapore-based HR leaders surveyed have updated their workforce contingency plan/disaster management plan as a result of the air pollution
  • 4% of Singapore-based HR leaders have encountered employees who have asked to be evacuated from Singapore or to work from other geographical locations
  • 66% of Singapore-based HR leaders surveyed think that regular or ongoing air pollution will damage the global reputation of Singapore as a good place to conduct business

With 45% of respondents encouraging employees to work from home, record levels of air pollution have turned Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) into a ghost town. The survey revealed that HR departments have acted swiftly and are responsive to this issue, with 74% of companies currently providing some level of emergency assistance to employees. By far the largest assistance given was the provision of N95 masks to employees. However our survey revealed that some multinationals were also providing additional support, including extra air filtration in corporate offices, free taxis to and from the office, and free medical assistance. In some cases lunches are being brought in to enable staff to remain in the safer environment of the office during their breaks.

At this stage, we are not seeing an exodus of foreign employees, with only 4% of companies reporting requests to be evacuated from Singapore to be allowed to work from other geographical locations. It is clear however that air pollution is taken seriously by multinationals, with 66% of Singapore-based HR leaders surveyed stating their opinion that regular or ongoing air pollution will damage the global reputation of Singapore as a good place to conduct business.

Matthew Chapman, CEO of The Chapman Consulting Group said “The good news is that most multinational companies have detailed plans in place to keep their employees as safe as possible whilst Singapore suffers under this haze. Allowing people to work from home is one option, but often the safest place to be is in the office, as these buildings have far more sophisticated air filtration systems than most domestic homes. The bigger picture is that companies are worried about the damage air pollution will do to Singapore’s reputation as Asia’s business hub if this situation is significantly prolonged or becomes regular”.

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