Jun 25, 2013

    Tea and taxi subsidies for haze relief

    COMPANIES here are going the extra mile - beyond handing out N95 masks and allowing flexi-work arrangements - to ensure the well-being of their staff.

    For instance, the Royal Plaza on Scotts has been distributing chrysanthemum tea to its 412 staff to "boost their immune system", said Mr Patrick Fiat, its general manager.

    This started last Friday, after the three-hourly Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reached highs of over 400.

    The tea was specially brewed by the Scotts Road hotel's culinary team.

    Mr Fiat told My Paper: "The tea has anti-viral properties, which provide relief for sore throat and respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath."

    This week, a selection of brews, desserts and fruits - including winter melon and watermelon - will be available to staff during their meal breaks.

    "The human-resource team has specially created this menu of ingredients with cooling properties, to help relieve ailments that could be caused by the haze situation," Mr Fiat said.

    The hotel's engineering team is also servicing the hotel's air-conditioner filters more frequently to improve air quality for employees and guests.

    British software company Atex, which has its Asia headquarters in Singapore, started giving its 12 employees a transport allowance of $35 per day yesterday, so that they can take taxis instead of buses or trains. It hopes to limit the time that employees spend outdoors.

    Mr Jerome Laredo, Atex's chief executive for Asia Pacific, said: "Last week, we saw the PSI reach some dangerous levels and thought, 'What can we do for our employees?' "

    The firm also made sure that employees have masks for themselves and their families, and has in place work-from-home arrangements where feasible.

    Mr Josh Goh, assistant director of corporate services at human-resource consultancy The GMP Group, said such measures show that companies recognise their staff's contribution, and assure workers that their well-being is a top concern.