No big change in commuter numbers despite easing of office rulesavril 5, 2021
The morning commuting crowd streamed out of Raffles Place MRT station, most of them office workers walking closely behind one another.
From 8.30am to 9.30am yesterday, the tapping of bank and ez-link cards at the gantries was relentless.
If not for the masks on everyone’s faces, one might have forgotten a pandemic was ongoing.
Commuters The Straits Times spoke to said the morning crowds have been about the same for the past few months.
Despite yesterday being the first day of eased regulations for workplaces, with companies allowed to bring up to 75 per cent of their staff back to the office at any one time, there was no noticeable further crowding in train cars.
A good number of people are still working from home or avoiding the peak hour.
Ms Rebecca Quah, 35, a financial consultant who alighted at Raffles Place, said: “Companies are not exactly rushing to change their policies…
“It is only the first day, and I think many companies are asking their staff what they want before making them return to the office.”
The Government seeks to give more leeway to firms as they shift from working from home to a more hybrid arrangement, with employees’ time split between home and the workplace.
The 75 per cent cap is up from 50 per cent, but rostered split teams, staggered hours and continued work-from-home arrangements are expected to moderate increases in public transport use and spread out staff arrival and departure times.
Instead of having to reach the office by 9am, for instance, workers might arrive at 10am.
They might also return to the office three days a week instead of all five working days.
Employers whom ST spoke to last week said flexible working hours will continue to be the norm.
Some are conducting internal surveys to find out how best to have their employees back in the office without making them uncomfortable.