Is IT Support considered an Essential Service?

Is IT Support considered an Essential Service?

Man Coding On A Macbook

Working from home (WFH) is a growing trend in today’s work environment, in which employees can easily plug-in from just anywhere they are, and this becomes even more apparent in the current pandemic situation. Essential domestic services are largely moving online and the tools and applications that they use become an integral part of their work. As such, technical support becomes an important aspect of the WFH life.

To understand what essential services in Singapore are, we need to look at the government guidelines first. Usually, essential services refer to the services that are essential to the health and welfare of a population. Basically, they are services that a population can’t do without even when disaster strikes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has really done its part in redefining what is essential and what is not. Many industries such as travel and logistics had to be pruned down or shut down entirely, while other sectors such as healthcare, delivery services, and public works saw a surge in demand. Based on the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that some sectors such as healthcare, public safety, food and agriculture, energy and water, public works, and essential retailing are defined as essential services.

While there is a good idea about what essential services are, industries that support these services are often overlooked. The data entry, relaying information, supply and logistics, and many more sectors that support the essential services have been instructed to work at home as much as possible. As the pandemic continues, we can see that the trend of working from home is here to stay for the foreseeable future, especially so for sectors that are deemed non-essential. Workers in these sectors are impacted as they take a pay cut, or even lose their jobs. Many industries are now adapting to working from home, and as a result, between 2020 and 2021, the economy is recovering and stabilising. While many organisations already have the infrastructure for their employees to telecommute, the question of whether this arrangement will be stable remains. As technology and the internet become huge factors in ensuring work via telecommunication is possible, the technical support for these factors now become essential.

Since digital workplaces are now deemed to be the natural evolution of current working life, more organisations are allocating more budget for IT outsourcing services, or even hiring in-house technical support teams. Employees working remotely not only need the tools and training for remote work – they also need adequate technical support in order to keep collaborating, communicating, and connecting with each other to maintain a conducive virtual workspace.

Since much of the work done in a virtual workspace is achieved with communication and collaboration, technical support in these areas is important. For more technical issues such as malfunctioning software and network tools, technical support teams are essential to remedy the problems encountered. Thus, it is obvious that at least in Singapore, IT support can be considered as an essential service. Not only has information technology improved our capacity to store, retrieve, and transfer data, but it has also affected practically every area of our life, especially during the pandemic.


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