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Uncooperative colleagues, inflexible managers are the biggest barriers to work-life balance for Singaporeans

Uncooperative colleagues, inflexible managers are the biggest barriers to work-life balance for Singaporeans

The pursuit of work-life balance remains a priority for Singaporeans, a third of whom (35%) say they are still not satisfied with the amount of time they are able to spend with family and friends.

According to new study by Monster.com, Singaporeans generally feel they have an “average” work-life balance, but with some serious room for improvement. When asked what work-life balance means to them, 73% said not working on weekends, while 69% said it means the ability to leave work on time every day. For others, work-life balance means having a choice to work remotely or from home (56%), or choosing their own flexible hours to suit their needs (54%).

Despite this varied understanding and expectations of work-life balance, 39% of Singaporeans said their current employer does not have any official policy in relation to flexible hours.

The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 respondents across Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, is part of recruitment portal Monster’s #WorkLifeBalance campaign, which aims to explore working professionals’ sentiments around work-life balance, and raise awareness among employers as to what aspects of work-life balance are most valued by their employees.

In Singapore, the expectation to work late hours probably comes as no surprise to many - with 33% of respondents saying they have to work late on a regular basis. This is in contrast to Malaysia and the Philippines, where the bulk of respondents are only expected to work late when an important project needs completion. One third (33%) of Singapore respondents reported they check emails “a few times a day” even when they are off work, while 38% said that smartphones make it difficult for them to “switch off”.

When asked about the biggest barriers to achieving work-life balance, 40% attributed it to uncooperative and over competitive colleagues, while 42% said it is due to the negative attitude of their supervisors. Only 23% said their managers are supportive and understand staff have life beyond work - significantly lower than Malaysia (31%) and the Philippines (44%).

A whopping 86% of Singaporeans believe a good work-life balance can enhance productivity and will positively impact the business.

“Employers across Singapore have a better understanding than ever that providing flexible working policies and giving employees autonomy to decide their own hours is key to fostering higher engagement and increased productivity. However, implementation and management of such policies still proves to be a barrier for organisations, especially in more traditional fields,” said Abhijeet Mukherjee, CEO Monster.com - APAC & Gulf.

“Although remuneration remains a main driver of happiness, poor work culture is the key reason for high turnover and disengagement. There are numerous flexible working policies businesses can take advantage of to ensure a balance inside and outside the office - the key is internally communicating these and ensuring expectations are aligned. Without a strong strategy for this, employees can feel unsupported by the business, even if work-life balance policies are technically in place.” 

Online recruitment platform Monster.com is launching its first #WorkLifeBalance campaign this March, highlighting the the importance of ensuring that professional responsibilities do not overpower other aspects of the lives of employees, and to encourage employers to formulate policies which promote a wholesome, complete and harmonious life.