Work-life balance seems to be one of the most popular buzzwords among HR leaders and employees alike. As the demands keep growing, employees are often required to sacrifice their personal lives to meet business goals. This condition leads to imbalance between professional and personal lives. And apparently, Singaporeans face similar issue.

Singapore, being one of the world’s leading economy, is known for its longest working hours in Southeast Asia. The latest report from Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Labour Market Statistical Information in 2016 notes that an average Singaporean works 45.6 hours per week.

This figure is even higher than OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) finding on global working hours. OECD report in 2016 finds that Mexico holds the longest working hours among other surveyed countries, with ‘only’ 42.8 hours per week, followed by Costa Rica and South Korea.

Singapore government through MOM has advocated a policy to limit the long working hours to 44 hours per week. One of the primary reasons is to achieve work-life balance and create better working culture. However, given the latest stats showing exceeding number of working hours than the ministry’s initial recommendation, it seems that work-life balance is a need of the hour among Singaporean workers.

In 2016, Randstad Award survey reveals 47 percent Singaporean workers continue to work more than stipulated working hours. When we breakdown the percentage, the overtime workers consist of 52 percent men and 41 percent women.

However, employers are not the only ones to be blamed for the difficult realisation of work-life balance in Singapore. Employees are actually fully aware of the consequences of this long working hours. The survey notes that despite heavy work schedules, only 7 percent respondents state they would prefer to work less and 47 percent respondents seem to be contented with their current schedule.

So the question remains: What makes Singaporeans willing to work overtime?

Randstad reveals that the prospect of earning more is the key motivator, with 80 percent respondents stating that money is the major factor. The other factors, why Singaporeans choose working more than spending time at home are career progression and promotion (41 percent) as well as personal development (33 percent).

Interestingly, the same survey also highlights that work-life balance is actually gaining more attention among Singaporean workers. While salary and benefits remain the first factor for choosing an employer, work-life balance takes the second place of most important consideration before Singaporean accepts a job offer. In 2012, only 32 percent respondents see the importance of work-life balance. However, the percentage keeps increasing each year, as in 2016 it becomes 52 percent.

These statistics indicate that while the concept of work-life balance is popular among Singaporeans, it is less put to practice by Gen X, Y and Baby boomers who choose to work overtime. However Millennials in particular prioritise work-life balance, with 71 percent respondents showing strong preference to work more flexibly.

This phenomenon makes Singapore case interesting. While they want to keep their professional and personal lives healthy, they are willing to work more for better income and career progression.

To overcome this issue, the Singapore government has fostered the significance of work-life balance through several policies. Besides working hour limitations, MOM has also launched Strategies for work-life harmony which includes flexible work arrangements, leave schemes, and employee support schemes.

Next read: Happiness at Work. Pleasure or Fulfilment?

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A bad manager can potentially make the life of employees miserable at work, bringing about work dissatisfaction and also threaten their career advancement opportunities. But the troubling part is, managers possess some degree of authority, thus, complaining about their behaviours might be risky, and that could eventually result in losing your job.

Some employees when encountering such bad managers, they opt to be passive about the bad management. They avoid confrontations as they do not want to disrupt the relationship and further threaten their jobs or reputation in the company. However, there are also employees who are courageous enough to be ‘heroes’ by speaking up and pointing out the bad management issues they are facing which leads to their inability to excel. Also, at the same time, for the rest of their peers’ overall effectiveness at work.

If you belong to the ‘heroes’ group, be cautious and well-prepared! An effective, professional complaint should be well methodised to drive the upper management for their response and necessary actions, also to heal the working harmony amongst the team, even to take needful steps in future when promoting or hiring the right suited person for managerial positions.

1) Identifying the Cause

When you want to make a complaint about your manager, it must be for appropriate causes and not for personal reasons (e.g. a personal dislike, giving you tasks you hate) or for petty reasons, you can come across as being unreasonable. Therefore, ensure you are making a complaint regarding valid issues.

Valid issues that can justify your complaint ranges from workplace bullying, discriminatory behaviour, breaking violations, instructing you to perform illegal or unethical activities. If you are unsure if the issue you would like to raise is valid or not, it is best to seek a second opinion.

2) Collecting Evidence

Once you have a valid complaint to make. The next step would be to collect concrete evidence to back your complaint. It is important to document the bad behaviours. Be as detailed as you can and with the evidence, it will be justifiable to the upper management where they can take necessary actions.

3) Go to the HR Department First

HR persons play a part in ensuring an efficient workplace, including mediating conflict occurrences amongst the employees. Thus, the complaint should be brought forth to them first for their further investigation on the matter. Commonly, the HR persons will contemplate on the best possible solution to the problem. Once they come to a conclusion, the matter will be reported to the upper management with proposed solution. Be it termination for bad cases or a mediation meeting to be held in minor cases.

4) Threatening Doesn’t Solve Anything

Some employees might get too emotional and scurry to deliver the complaints while threatening legal actions or hinting they will quit should they not produce a satisfied outcome.

Keep in mind that; Your job role can always be there, but you are not indispensable. No matter how much achievements you gain or a very talented employee, nobody is indispensable. Moreover, to rush the management to deliver an outcome, the investigation will not be conducted carefully and objectively.

It is right so that every employee can speak up and help the company to purge toxic people in the workplace but it is crucial that the methods delivering such complaints are done professionally and appropriately. What’s your take on this? Share them with me!

Next read: The Effects Job Dissatisfaction Does to Your Health