No work-life balance unless mindsets change

SINGAPORE - While it is heartening that some companies in Singapore value their staff's private time, sadly, the number of those that adhere to this principle is too small to make any significant impact on the work culture here ("Perks for staff who watch the clock"; last Friday).

This is apparent in most government and statutory boards, which are so preoccupied with satisfying public demands that their staff have to work late.

My relative from England told me that if an employee in his country was assigned work at the last minute and not given ample time to complete it, resulting in his having to work late, the boss would have been taken to task for being unreasonable and could even be sued.

I am not advocating that we become a litigious society. What I am suggesting is that all of us should have a clear sense of direction towards work-life balance.

With technological advancements, we are expected to multitask and raise productivity. However, this has also resulted in expectations of shorter response times.

I often jokingly tell my colleagues that they ought to consider themselves lucky if they were expected to furnish information the next day, and not yesterday.

It is unfair to solely blame the bosses for this as they themselves are caught in the same dilemma.

The mindset of each one of us has to change in order to derive outcomes that are mutually acceptable to all.

Unless such a mindset is ingrained in all of us, we will continue to be saddled with work that we cannot finish during normal working hours, and have to stay late in the office or take home to complete.

Rajasegaran Ramasamy

This article was published on April 25 in The Straits Times.Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.