Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How to improve Singapore’s productivity among native Singaporean workers?

Economic growth has been overly emphasized in our city state. I see everyday stressed out & over-tired workers everywhere catching a nap on our MRT trains. While economic growth is important for our nation, there should be a balance between economic growth and the well-being of all our citizens here.

Singapore workers are generally time-crunched employees who work long hours every day which is no good for their health. There should be some time allocated for our workers to do some exercise every day. Recently the Health Promotion Board has also rolled out some good initiatives for workers working in the city to do some workouts there; but I am not sure whether it is really practical due to the long hours workers here work. Even if the workers are to come and start their exercises earlier, they may compromise on their sleep, which is another important element of health.

I feel that employers here generally have a very conservative mindset when it comes to the relationship between hours and work. Long hours at a workplace does not equal to more amount of work done, quantitatively and qualitatively. At my workplace, there are many employees who surf the net, their tablets, their iphones, etc discreetly while working. This traditional relationship between hours and work is also often used in such a way to justify “face time” for some employees hoping to score some points with their bosses.

I am a proponent of more creative use of time. Having employees work for fewer hours and having more hours for them to relax, play and recharge may generate more productivity for the labour force. The government should study the working models of companies like Google which instils both fun in their employees and at the same time allow them to contribute in a productive and positive way to the companies.

With fewer hours of work, more hours for employees to relax and recharge, we may be able to generate sparks of creativity and innovation among our employees. This will lead to improved productivity. In this way, we can rely on our native Singaporean workforce to generate more economic output and reduce the need for more than 45% of foreigners in a 6.9 million population by year 2030.