Married to work, thanks to tech

PHOTO: Married to work, thanks to tech

SINGAPORE - The uptake of mobile technologies is seeing Singapore's employees working extended hours, as they stay "connected" to their work round the clock. This produces a lift in workplace productivity, but also eats into leisure time.

More than one in three of Singapore's respondents to the latest Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI) survey said they feel under pressure to stay connected to work outside of normal working hours.

More than half (54 per cent) of respondents spend up to five hours per week connected to their work outside normal hours, 16 per cent spend six to 10 hours, and 17 per cent spend more than 10 hours. Only 13 per cent spend no time.

The KGWI survey examined the growth of this highly-virtual workforce and the impact on workplace productivity, work- life balance and job security. Nearly 170,000 people in 30 countries participated in the survey, including approximately 6,000 in Singapore.

While 55 per cent said the use of mobile technologies has improved their work efficiency and productivity, 42 per cent said it has also contributed to increased fatigue and burnout.

"The spread of smartphones, laptops and tablets has empowered a generation of workers, for whom the office is always in their pocket, but eating into their downtime," said Mr Mark Hall, vice-president and country general manager of Kelly Services Singapore.

The blurring of the line between work and leisure is occurring across all generations, but is most pronounced for Gen X (aged 31-48) employees and those with a professional and technical background, who are under the greatest pressure to maintain contact with their work.

"Many employees are juggling the competing pressures between work and leisure," Mr Hall said.

"With work now leaping the boundary of the workplace and impacting leisure time, employers need to weigh the enhanced flexibility on the one hand, with the added burden it is putting on certain staff on the other hand."