Hard to have fun at some jobs

AGREE with Professor Kishore Mahbubani that increasing productivity is a problem ("Want to be more productive? Have fun at work"; last Saturday).

However, I am not sure productivity gains made while having fun working in an air-conditioned office is comparable to doing so while working in a hot factory with a low salary.

Productivity gains depend largely on the nature of work and type of industry. For example, bus drivers on the roads of New York can hardly be more productive than bus drivers in Singapore.

In my business, which involved industrial engineering, automatic production lines and manufacturing machine tools, I found it more difficult to quantify productivity gains in administrative work, while it was easier on the floor.

The only way to reduce manpower need and boost quantifiable output was to use technology, innovative ideas and sophisticated machinery.

Productivity gains should be measured under stable conditions within the same industry without variable factors.

Prof Mahbubani cited the happiness and higher productivity of waiters and waitresses in New York, compared with the ones here. However, those in the US are paid better and work shorter hours than those here.

If workers in Singapore had similar working environments and incomes as their counterparts in the United States, I am sure they would be more productive and have fun at work.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

But traffic warden shows how

THERE is a traffic warden at Century Square shopping mall in Tampines who has been given the nickname, Mr Performer.

He is the embodiment of Professor Kishore Mahbubani's appeal to have fun at work ("Want to be more productive? Have fun at work"; last Saturday).

Mr Performer has elevated what many may deem a mundane, and perhaps, menial, job to an art form.

He never fails to amuse us as he directs pedestrian and vehicular traffic at the carpark entrance, with a perpetual smile on his face.

His demeanour makes it seem like his is the most important job in the world, as he waves people and cars through at intervals with the theatrical flourish of a conductor in an orchestra.

Perhaps, he does exert a far greater influence beyond his official job description.

Many people, amid the long wait for carpark space, would have had their mood lightened by his enthusiasm and lively personality.

Who knows, happier people may even spend more at the shops, so he may be indirectly responsible for increased profits at the mall as well.

Businesses should have an award for employees such as Mr Performer, who exemplifies pride and dedication in his work while having fun himself.

Maria Loh Mun Foong (Ms)

This article was first published on Feb 21, 2015.
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