Common Challenges in Adapting to the New Working Landscape


More than a year has passed since WHO declared the COVID-19 infection as a global pandemic. And, within this timeframe, many things have also changed, especially for companies and workplaces. In Singapore, many companies still opt to use a hybrid working arrangement. It remains the most favorable option as citizens and businesses remain vigilant against the virus.

Meanwhile, the same trend is observed in the entire APAC region. A study revealed that more than 50 percent consider quitting their current job if they don’t have flexible working options. Furthermore, the same study notes that 87 percent of employees prefer having the flexibility to choose when they work while 88 percent favor having the freedom to decide on their work location. 

With these changing trends in talent behavior and work preference, companies meet varying challenges that push them to innovate and adapt. Let’s take a closer look at these challenges. 

1. Most Companies Struggle to Establish a Hybrid Work Arrangement

According to McKinsey, C-level executives expect to see more work done in the hybrid setup. However, many organizations still have problems in establishing an effective and sustainable hybrid work arrangement. Most organizations are either in the planning phase or have started testing possible options for their teams. 

Accenture advises companies to keep in mind the following tips in creating or transitioning into a hybrid workplace:

  • Provide resources that stimulate productivity 
  • Design work around your team’s needs and preferences
  • Accelerate and innovate HR processes 
  • Lead with empathy and humanity in mind
  • Establish a solid digital fluency to keep up with the latest trends used in your sector or function

2. Some Employees have Productivity Concerns

The concept of remote or hybrid working continues to draw mixed reactions from the employees and employers alike. While some argue they have adapted in their setup well, many find it hard to concentrate in distracting workspaces such as their homes, hotels, or cafes. 

Besides dealing with distractions, some also deal with additional concerns such as infrastructure limitations. Some of these include the following: 

  • Slow internet or dead WiFi zones in some areas of the house
  • Poor home office layout (lack of dedicated space for work, dim lighting, low-quality chairs or desk, etc.) 
  • Technical difficulties (new software installation concerns, troubleshooting hardware defects, etc.) 

To tackle this issue, Gartner, a research and advisory company, encourages companies to address sources of remote work stress and other factors that impact productivity. Here are some of their key tips:

  • Reduce digital distractions that employees have to deal with
  • Minimize virtual overload or burnout by not scheduling an excessive number of calls and meetings with the team
  • Adopt a monitoring system that works for your team and your company to avoid the “always-on mindset”

3. Loss of Company Culture and Socialisation among Employees

Notably, not all companies (or employees) have a problem in sustaining productivity. However, some of them believe that the new work arrangements deprive them of socializing with their colleagues. In sectors or functions that require a high level of collaboration, such as supply chain management, this can be seen as a slight disadvantage. Even with the weekly Zoom meetings, physical interactions between co-workers and organization leaders remain the best way to build meaningful partnerships.

To solve such problems, supply chain leaders turn to schedule virtual coffee breaks or well-being sessions. Other organisations, on the one hand, tap into virtual celebrations or themed days to foster camaraderie.   

4. Managing Projects Consisting of Big Teams

Managing projects with big teams is also a serious problem that company leaders face today. Regardless if the team comprises of people working in a hybrid setup or individuals working from multiple locations, managers need to ensure that their targets and the key KPIs are hit. There’s also the issue of establishing seamless communication between the members, clients, and partners.

Thankfully, project management tools are available to help teams stay in the loop with each other’s progress. Some supply chain organizations use absence management technology to keep track of people who got sick or requested personal leave. 

The Future Remains Largely Uncertain

The future of the pandemic remains unknown as new variants continue to impact various parts of the Asia Pacific region. This could mean that the hybrid or remote working setup that we follow today is still subject to change, depending on how the situation will progress and affect businesses. 

For now, all we can do is look forward to a better situation and start preparing for whatever lies ahead in a post-pandemic world. We at The Supply Advisory are here to provide you with the necessary insights to help you with your supply chain and procurement business.

You can also contact us if you need help sourcing supply chain and procurement talents in the region. Please get in touch with us today for more information on our executive recruitment solutions. 



Aileen Apuntar-Laqui is the Director – Operations & Research at The Supply Advisory, a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in Procurement & Supply Chain.

You can view the The Supply Advisory website or contact them directly at for a more detailed discussion.

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