Trust Enables New Ways to Work: How Singapore’s Workplaces Navigated COVID-19 to Emerge Stronger for the Future

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2020 was a year of historic challenges for workplaces, employees and families, as the pandemic unfolded in networked waves that highlighted both the global nature of our world and its vulnerabilities. By February, COVID-19 had come to dominate news headlines on a daily basis. By March, it had disrupted economies and daily life to an unprecedented degree all across the world.

Singapore sprang to action, with government, workplaces and individuals all responding to contain the spread of COVID-19 while trying to keep the economy afloat. Singapore implemented its circuit breaker measures in early April. The impact on organizations varied greatly. Some businesses closed temporarily while others were permanently shuttered. Some companies saw their markets grow and profits increase, while others faced shrinking demand and falling revenues. Some employers had all of their employees working remotely, while others also had essential staff on the manufacturing floor, in the field, and on the frontlines. A number of organizations saw an initial drop in productivity as employees adjusted to their new circumstances, followed by a notable increase as they demonstrated their ability to stay productive despite unpredictable, rapidly-changing conditions.

Without a doubt, this unforeseen crisis has greatly challenged all organizations. Some seem to have not only responded well but are now positioned to emerge even stronger. The COVID-19 crisis put organizations through a trial by fire, in the process creating a natural hotbed that provided a unique opportunity to examine a key question: What separates Best Workplaces from the rest, when confronted with this crisis?

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To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.

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