Half of workers in Singapore spend well over eight hours a day at the office and 50 percent regularly take work home to finish in the evening. This evidence of long working hours is seen in the latest global survey findings from Regus.
Arguably, pressure on working hours has increased in recent years because of slow economic recovery in mature economies and, conversely, very rapid growth in emerging ones. A country like Singapore – which has a very work-centric culture – is no exception to this rule.
The study finds that 31% of Singapore workers usually work between nine and eleven hours every day compared to an average of 38% of workers elsewhere in the world.
Some 19% of workers in Singapore and 10% globally regularly work more than eleven hours a day, reveals the study.
In Singapore, 50% of workers take tasks home to finish at the end of the day more than three times a week compared to 43% globally.
Globally, only 5% of women work 60-hour weeks compared to more than twice that number (12%) for men. They are also less likely (32%) to take work home more than three times a week, than are men (48%).
Remote workers globally are more likely to work eleven hour days (14%) than fixed office workers (6%) and to take tasks home to finish (59%) than fixed office workers (26%).
Workers in smaller companies were more likely to take work home with them (48%) more than three times a week than those working in large firms (29%).
William Willems, Regional Vice-President, Regus, Asia-Pacific observes that the study finds a clear blurring of the line between work and home.
In Singapore, where the National Institute For Occupational Mental Health reports that a quarter of workers view their job as the number one cause of stress, the long-term effects of this over-work could be damaging both to workers’ health and to overall productivity as workers drive themselves too hard and become disaffected, depressed or even physically ill.
While women were found to be less likely to work longer hours, probably because they are more likely to be employed in part-time work, small company workers are more likely to clock up the hours than large company employees.
Workers in small businesses are perhaps more likely to feel that the impact of the single employee on the success of a project is more marked.
Martin Cerullo, Managing Director for Development for Alexander Mann Solutions in Asia-Pacific, noted that much of the issue has to do with globalisation of the economy.
“With an economy based primarily on trading, Singapore undoubtedly has relationships with countries all over the world with various time differences to consider," says Cerullo.
Cerullo says the advancement of technology has facilitated the access of work beyond the office. As a result, it is not uncommon that workers find themselves working more hours.
Willems points out while the survey found remote and mobile workers generally worked longer hours, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that remote workers are more productive, have a higher job satisfaction and lower stress levels. These workers typically spend far less time commuting, freeing up more time for their job.
Businesses that enable their employees to work from locations closer to home and manage their time more independently will offset the stress of a poor work-life balance and gain more productive, committed and healthy staff.
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