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Singaporeans feel "obliged" to work long, hard hours

Local bosses may be generally supportive of employees’ work-life balance, but more can be done to ensure staff in Singapore are not heading for a complete burnout.

According to the Morgan McKinley Working Hours Survey 2014, 82% of professionals in Singapore feel they are working in excess of the hours stipulated in their contracts. In addition, 65% of these professionals they feel obligated to work longer hours.

However, only 28% believed they are more productive during these extra hours compared with their regional counterparts in Australia (55%), China (39%), Hong Kong (37%), Japan (36%).

READ MORE: Countries with better work-life balance than Singapore

“This is indicative of the work culture across Asia, where typically longer working hours and late nights in the office are commonplace, so I’m not surprised by the statistics at all,” Andrew Evans, chief operating officer, South Asia, Morgan McKinley, said.

“Typically, in Singapore the workforce starts their day later than their western counterparts, and work lunch breaks are well enjoyed.  It is culturally acceptable to enjoy a good hour for eating during lunchtime, which does add to a later day’s leave.”

The survey warned, however, that such long working hours might have a detrimental effect on the work-life balance.

In fact, an overwhelming majority (85%) of respondents said excessive working hours are already having an impact on this.

ALSO READ: Does work-life balance still exist?

“Despite this, Singapore’s professionals are continuing to work even when not at the office, with 72% of respondents saying they continue to work from home or on mobile devices,” the survey stated.

Additionally, it highlighted 54% are aware of flexible work options at their organisation, with work from home being the most common (41%), followed by flexi-time (32%) and part-time (12%).

However, 26% of respondents stated there are currently no flexible work arrangements at their organisation, whilst 20% say they are unaware of flexible options available to them.

Image: Shutterstock

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