In a study commissioned by The Straits Times, one in two Singapore employees have been working longer hours since the pandemic started, with a third of these people putting in more than two extra hours a day.
Singapore has always been ranked the second most overworked city globally. Even if you get the best case scenario of working 8 hours on weekdays, you still have to cram the rest of your life into the evenings and two days.
Not to mention travelling to and from work everyday and working overtime when hiccups occur (and let’s face it, they always will).
With the pandemic and remote working implemented in one way or another, you would think we’re closer to achieving proper work-life balance than ever before.
But that is not the case at all.
With KPIs to meet and increased workload thanks to the pandemic, remote working blurs the line between work and personal life and lengthens working hours.
More than ever before, employees need a break from work.
Prolonged hours of work can lead to chronic stress and fatigue, sleep deprivation and a drop in productivity. Many Singaporeans eat an unhealthy diet and live an unhealthy lifestyle because there’s simply no time to think about improving these things when the work keeps piling up.
Ironically, working your employees harder is the reason why businesses are falling apart instead.
In 2019, Microsoft Japan tested reducing the work week by one day and it resulted in a 40% boost in productivity.
Researchers from Iceland studied 2,500 employees with four-day work weeks and found that these people have a reduction in perceived stress and burnout as well as a better work-life balance.
The idea of reducing the working hours of your employees by an entire day might frighten many companies because there is work to be done and customers to serve. We live in the age of immediate replies and same-day delivery where taking a full day off every week means a significant loss of business.
Yet the fact remains that continuing down the path we are currently on is unsustainable. Reducing the work hours of your employees remains the solution for increasing the productivity of your business.
Thus, the solution to this is to compromise and give employees a half day off each month so they can gather their wits, regain their calm and deal with any personal issues they may have.
People Profilers has implemented this for about half a year now and we have found that this monthly holiday allows our consultants to perform better at work. They have more energy in the week after the break and are also more enthusiastic when facing their clients.
A half day off every month doesn’t seem to be a lot of time in the grand scheme of things, but this little change has brought about very positive results.
Sometimes, the way to improve your business is to take a break from doing business for a while.