• We Asked People What It's Like to Work During the Chinese New Year Holidays in Singapore

    by BGC Candidates

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    Despite it being the Chinese New Year holidays, not everyone received their day off. Unfortunately, there are still people working to provide different services for everyday Singaporeans. 

    Some services that are still available during the Chinese New Year holidays include retail assistants, healthcare staff, cinema operators, servers, hotel staff, airport and tourist staff to name a few. But what happens when the festive season clashes with a global emergency? Well, there are a few more people forced to work over the holiday season, to help extinguish potential fires.

    Which is why we activated some of BGC’s talented consultants, to source for talents in Singapore’s first line of defense. Now that the fight’s over, we’d like to thank our recruiters for sacrificing a valuable holiday. Below, we asked members of the team for some of their thoughts when it comes to working over the Chinese New Year holidays as well as their thoughts about hiring temperature screeners during the wake of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic.

    Chuan Yi, Staffing Supervisor


    Pictured: Chuan Yi on the far right!


    Working over the Chinese New Year holidays was definitely painful. Especially when you’re working from home and you see so many of your colleagues and friends gambling and meeting up. You do feel a little left out.

    But despite this, we didn’t have major issues when it comes to hiring people for the healthcare assistant and nurse role. Even though we had to hire them during the peak of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic. 

    Of course there were some challenges that we had to deal with. One of the main issues was communication. Since we’re working from home, we had to work from home, and often communicated via text or through the internet. Instead of our usual face to face. Additionally, whilst we all had an individual list of duties to attend to. We did not exactly have a fixed set of working hours for the team to follow through with. There were times when people wanted things to be done fast but had to take a minor setback because you still have to wait for information from your fellow teammates. 

    Honestly, what kept me motivated was the thought that I’m doing this for a good cause. Though I can't be on the ground to support the staff, I'd just like to let the frontline staff that we've communicated with that the BGC team is very thankful for them. We appreciate their help and while they worked hard to help fight on the frontline. We’re working hard at the backend to ensure that overall operations are smooth. 


    Jeffrey Koh, Senior Staffing Specialist 

    Pictured: Jeffrey in blue with some of our older recruiters!

    I definitely found it to be very hectic and chaotic! Trying to juggle between visiting my relatives and calling. Not to mention all the deployment work I had to do. Luckily, I still managed to celebrate the Chinese New Year by visting my relatives in half a day. 

    Of course since the "order" was pretty last minute. It was very tiring at times. Especially with all the last minute order and changes. Apart from that, getting enough people to work last minute was quite tough. But it wasn't because the team was inefficient or anything like that. But since everyone's working from home, it was mainly due to the different shift timings. Some of the team members were even working from 6am in the morning. Also, since the work the candidates that we're hiring for does not have a fixed timing. We can't provide candidates (e.g. those working at ferry terminals) with their definite start and end timing. This affects our hiring as well. 

    But thankfully, despite these challenges, hiring people seemed to be relatively easy. It's probably because the role is a higher paying one, which is attractive to mature job candidates, despite the risk. The same goes for nurses. Plus they get to earn double when working over the weekends and public holidays! 

    I don't know about the rest. But for me, what kept me motivated was simple: I started the job, and now I need to end it. 

    Michelle Tan, Senior Staffing Specialist 


    Pictured: Michelle Tan with her Service Excellence award! 


    Of course working during the Chinese New Year was not a fun experience at all. To be honest, working during the holidays was not “shiok” at all but we had to do our part and be responsible for our country. But despite working during the holidays and away from the office, I knew that I had my team with me by my side. It was also a good working experience for me to learn more about hiring during a unique season.

    To be honest, we thought that hiring temperature screeners during the Wuhan Cornavirus scare would be hard. And that the responses would be dead. But to our surpise, a number of people applied and even referred their friends to the job! Additionally, apart from dealing with some challenging candidates, it was quite difficult to work using the handphone.

    We’re used to working on a laptop but since we had to work during the holidays (and be on the go), it was hard to input details for clearance on the phone. But in the words of Fred Devito, “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”.

    The one thing that motivated me and kept my spirits up was knowing that I had a team of brothers working harder than me. This motivated me to put in more effort, and to do my part to give my best to reduce some of the stress.  

    Jin Hui, Staffing Specialist 


    Pictured: Jin Hui on the far right! 


    I thought, “shag”, when I found out that I had to work during the Chinese New Year holidays. Especially when you see other people celebrating the holidays with their family and friends, and you’re busy calling as many candidates as possible to recruit them and quickly fill in the position!

    But despite working during the public holidays, I realised that we needed to quickly fill in the temperature screener role in order to have a safe country. Luckily, we didn’t encounter too many problems despite working during the public holidays.

    Hiring for temperature screeners during the Wuhan Coronavirus panic was a little challenging. Some people were slightly afraid of the virus but we managed to find several open minded individuals who were open to help despite knowing about the Wuhan Coronavirus. Other challenges were people complaining about the pay. Perhaps this had something to do with the high pay rumors floating around the internet.

    One thing that kept me going and motivated when working throughout the holiday season was the idea that if I got my tasks done over and done with quickly then everyone on my team can rest quickly!

    Care to share your experience when it comes to working during the holidays? Let us know in the comments section below! 

    Read More: 5 Steps to Take When a Good Hire Turns "Bad"

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