S'poreans find it hard to let go of work when on a holiday: Study

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SINGAPORE - Strong work ethics coupled with greater penetration of technology means Singaporeans find it hard to let go of work during holidays. As a result, they fare poorly among peers in the Asia Pacific region when it comes to leaving the stress of work behind, a study has found.

One in three (32 per cent) find it hard to let go of work while on a holiday, while as many as 51 per cent of those surveyed said their boss expects them to be contactable, according to findings released on Tuesday by Randstad's Q2 2015 Workmonitor research, which covers 34 countries in the Asia Pacific region, Europe and the Americas.

The study, which sampled 400 respondents through an online questionnaire in Singapore, says greater connectivity like data roaming and technology like smart phones has made it increasingly difficult for employees to get away from the office.

"Singapore employees are also known to have a strong work ethic and are often motivated by money and career progression. This can often translate into working long hours in order to achieve their career goals, also making it harder to switch off once they leave the office," said Randstad country director for Singapore Mr Michael Smith.

"We found that 62 per cent of employees don't mind handling work-related matters in their own time, while 41 per cent choose to keep across their work during holidays as they like to stay involved. While it's great to have a high level of commitment to your job, employees need to learn when to let go," he said.

He said being able to switch off from work actually helps improve productivity and boosts morale. He added that employees should feel like they are able to set their own boundaries and allow themselves to relax.

"Hand over your work to a colleague before you go on holiday, with instructions that you only want to hear from them if something really urgent comes up. Stop responding to emails once you've left the office unless it's really necessary, otherwise that's what your clients and colleagues will come to expect all the time. Enjoying time away from work helps employees rejuvenate and recover from the pressures they face in the office."

The findings put Singapore among the top in the list of Asia Pacific countries where employees do not leave the stresses of work behind. Japanese (44 per cent) topped the list, followed by Malaysian employees (36 per cent).

Employees in China (15 per cent) and Hong Kong (19 per cent) are the most relaxed when it comes to taking time off work followed by Australia (24 per cent), New Zealand (25 per cent) and India (27 per cent).

Randstad is one of the world's largest recruitment & HR services providers. Its Workmonitor Mobility Index provides a comprehensive understanding of job market sentiments and employee trends. In addition to measuring mobility, it provides insights quarterly into employee satisfaction and personal motivation, as well as explores sentiments around key trends shaping the world of work for employees.


This article was first published on June 16, 2015.
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