As inflation rates soar, is remote working in Singapore the solution?
Whether you cheered or jeered when the restrictions to return to the office were lifted in Singapore, the message is clear that back to the office is here. But after two years of not working in the office, many employees are getting a rude shock: prices have increased due to inflation, and the costs of commuting and lunch are higher than it was two years ago. With the inflation and its ripple effect in mind, is remote working in Singapore the solution?
Why are things so expensive right now?
Inflation worldwide has risen due to supply chain shocks caused by Covid-19.
As many manufacturers stopped production due to labour shortage and fears over the virus, the supply of necessities like food and household items has fallen. Slow shipping movement and high demand have pushed fuel, food, clothing, and electronics prices higher.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict further increased the inflationary pressures around the world. The two countries are significant producers of necessities such as oil and wheat, and their conflict can further increase the shortage of these commodities. Experts say that consumer prices have increased drastically, not seen since 1982.
In Singapore, the recent news shows that people expect inflation to increase up to 4%, the highest since 2013.
How does it affect you?
In other countries, the shock of increased prices has seen employees requesting remote work as commuting to the office becomes more expensive than before.
While employers in Singapore are prepared to increase wages to reflect inflationary pressure, the rate of wage growth might not be able to keep pace with the rise of prices in transport and food.
Food prices in Singapore reflect how prices have spiked recently. Subway, the sandwich chain, updated their menu late in 2021 to reflect new prices per item, increasing by 40cents to $1 more than before. Other fast-food chains have also increased their prices. If you are an employee travelling to the central of Singapore for work, you might realise your daily expenses are higher.
Food isn’t the only category affected. Utilities such as electricity and water have also increased. Electricity, in particular, will be raised by almost 10% in April since Singapore imports most of its electricity and is heavily reliant on worldwide stability to keep prices fair.
Transport is also more expensive if you drive to work or take a private car. If your employer is not subsidising the cost of your fuel, then petrol and parking fees will put a dent in your wallet. Ride-hailing giants such as Grab and Comfort have already increased their fares to reflect the higher fuel prices.
As an employer, you might realise that remote working will be a lot more attractive. Apart from lowering your business costs, it gives your employees freedom to manage their time and expenses. The higher transport and food cost is a huge motivation for employees to start asking for remote work options.
Co-working spaces and inflation
Another option is to utilise co-working spaces to reduce your costs. Instead of paying a monthly rental, giving your employees options to work from co-working spaces remotely will let them still have a physical space to meet.
Better still, different co-working spaces have amenities available to suit your business needs. A Deskimo account lets you browse through different setups and choose the best co-working space for your business.
If you’re based in Singapore, Indonesia or Hongkong, Deskimo is the app you want to use to make back to the office a smooth transition. Our network of vetted, unique workspaces across Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong allows anyone to discover, work, and pay by the minute for workspace.