Is Our Value System a Help or a Hindrance to Work-life Balance?

April 02, 2013

It is encouraging to see our society moving forward with the idea of work-life balance and our Prime Minister and our MPs paying particular attention to it. The hunger for work-life balance is obvious but I am wondering if our current values and behaviors are conducive to satisfy this hunger?

A recent poll by NTUC stated that 43 per cent indicated they do not have enough time for their family while four in five said they hardly have any personal time. The 2012 National Values Assessment conducted by aAdvantage and Barrett Values Centre found that family, friendship and health are the top three personal values and behaviors of Singapore residents.

Respondents also stated that the perceived values embraced in their current workplaces include placing importance on customer satisfaction, teamwork and cost reduction. But the recent NTUC poll indicated that six in 10 said they do not have supportive colleagues. Doesn’t teamwork include cooperation and camaraderie? Can the same team spirit be extended to our colleagues who have to attend to genuine family needs? Or will we resign ourselves to the perception that Singapore residents are ‘kiasu’, competitive and self-centred as reported in the National Values Assessment?

Many of us will probably look forward to some sort of legislation encouraging work-life balance. However, it will take time, understanding, adjustments, shifts in mind-set and values and a high level of trust in the workplace for this to work.

Julie Samuel
Work-life Specialist
Focus on the Family Singapore


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