Work-Life Balance in Singapore: A Four-day Work Week?
In the wake of Covid-19 lockdown measures, people have become familiar with the concept of working from home, and many companies have employed a hybrid work arrangement to allow for increased flexibility. Employees with work-from-home or hybrid work arrangements have become accustomed to this lifestyle, which allows them more control over their work-life balance. Hybrid work arrangements are rapidly becoming the norm in many countries all over the world, and remote work has become not just a possibility but a reality thanks to today’s digital connectivity.
In 2021, a joint study between professors from multiple institutions, including Stanford University and The University of Chicago, found that working from home would life productivity in the US by 5%. A 9-month study at Stanford University found that working from home increases productivity by 13%. As more and more studies increasingly show that working from home improves productivity and reduces time wasted during commute and in the office, many have begun the float the idea of a four-day work week.
How would this work in Singapore, a nation that prides itself on its high productivity and the quality of its workforce? Some companies in certain industries may implement a work week that lasts Monday through Thursday and include Fridays as part of the weekend. In exchange, however, there may be trade-offs such as reduced annual leave. A four-day work week would allow for better work-life balance for employees, who would then have sufficient time to rest both physically and mentally. It would also incentivize them to be more productive over the work week as they would be well-rested and ready to put in their best at the start of the week.
Based on a survey conducted by Indeed, we found that about 88% or four out of five Singaporean employees would love to have a four-day work week with the same pay. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also stressed the importance of work-life balance in a 2014 speech.
Some countries like Iceland, New Zealand and Spain have already adopted the four-day work week. The pilot trials for companies that implemented a four-day work week saw significant negative impact on productivity, and even increased the happiness of employees, as well as their physical and mental health.
Below is a table summarising a few potential pros and cons of a 4-day work week:
As part of the working population, most people would choose a four-day work week, like those interviewed in the survey by Indeed. But whether Singapore implements a four-day work week or not, everyone should strive to have some time away from work every week. As one of the top destinations in the world, Singapore has a lot to offer beyond its robust business sector, both in terms of entertainment and community.
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