Singapore is often considered as a country that offers good pay packages to its employees. But to many, the country is also one where employers expect their staff to devote as much time to work as possible.
It is quite common for employees to stay back to meet targets even after the end of their contracted hours, or work through weekends. The Working Hours Survey conducted by Morgan Stanley in 2014 had revealed that a very high percentage of Singaporeans, especially in the financial and IT sectors, worked longer than their contracted hours.
To say the least, reports like these clearly indicate that not everything is okay with work-life balance in the country. The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore is now trying to encourage employers to promote work-life balance by adopting strategies that help their employees work efficiently without feeling stressed.
The Work-Life Works! Fund and the Flexi-Works! Fund are two schemes that are available to businesses to implement work-life balance strategies to improve productivity at their workplaces without compromising on the health or happiness of their employees.
Why Should You Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance?
A proper work-life balance will ensure that you spend enough time with your friends and family. This is important for keeping you in a peaceful state of mind. You’ll feel healthy and will be less susceptible to burnouts. The right balance will also help you to be more efficient at work.
How to Achieve a Great Work-Life Balance?
By applying the principles discussed below, you’ll be able to find enough time outside work for yourself, your hobbies, and people who are important to you. According to Bankbazaar Singapore, the principles to be followed are:
- Work smart instead of working hard: By managing your workflow through the day better, you can reduce the amount of time you spend at your work and also increase your productivity. Create your list of priorities. Focus on one thing at a time.
For example, don’t keep checking your work email every five minutes. Instead, take some time out in between important assignments to check and answer emails. Learn to say “no”. If your boss asks you to juggle between multiple assignments, you could try to excuse yourself out if you think that it might affect your ability to focus on priority assignments you’re working on.
If you plan to keep an assignment on hold and take up something else, don’t come back to it until you have finished the other assignment or at least made satisfactory progress with it. Give yourself deadlines and stick to them. Don’t forget to take short breaks in between. Working in short spells may help you focus better.
- Be proactive: While taking breaks in between work is advisable, you should also see to it that you’re not wasting time. If you have finished an assignment and don’t have much work on hand, ask your boss for a new assignment instead of wasting time. That way, you can make the most of your contracted hours and also stay ahead on your targets. You may also be able to establish a reputation for yourself as a serious worker.
- Disconnect from work: While it may be difficult for high-level employees or consultants, it isn’t impossible to take out at least half an hour to one hour of time for yourself every day. During that period, make sure you’re not taking business calls or brainstorming while video-conferencing with your colleagues.
You can meditate, read books, listen to music, spend time in the kitchen/garden, or do anything you’re passionate about to unwind from daily/weekly stress. Make it clear to your bosses and associates that you won’t be reachable during this time.
- Don’t get distracted: This can mainly happen when you’re working from home but can also affect you at your workplace. Many employees tend to stay back after their scheduled work hours not because they’re overworked but because they may not be scheduling their time well.
While taking time off to unwind is important and has been seen to be helpful, it has to be done in moderation. The idea is to stay focused and rejuvenated. Long breaks between sessions could actually be counterproductive. Stay sharp at your workplace and always be ready for your next assignment.
- Work for the right employer: At times, you may come across employers who focus more on facetime rather than on results, or who have unrealistic expectations from their employees. If you’re working for an employer who tends to keep their employees cooped up at their workstations for long hours even when there is no need, you may be working for the wrong employer.
- Don’t schedule or attend too many meetings throughout the day: While meeting with your subordinates, bosses, business contractors, or other stakeholders is an important part of your corporate life, don’t make it a goal unto itself. It is meant to help you get perspectives of the other side, seek, or provide inputs into important activities and get updates. However, when you spend too much time in meeting rooms, meeting your own targets can become difficult. While it may not be possible to avoid meetings, by keeping them short or by scheduling them optimally, you can get the most out of your day.
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