Demographics and Consumption

Reimagining Life

By Paul Yong, Andy Sim and Mavis Hui

Asian workers are still putting in longer hours than their Western counterparts, but the signs are there that shorter working hours may be on the horizon.

All work and no play is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Developed nations are increasingly embracing measures to increase productivity and efficiency in order to get the workforce working smarter and clocking shorter hours.

There’s no doubt that technology in the workplace has played a huge role in enhancing our standard of living and work-life balance, but not everyone has given it a warm welcome.

Asian countries, for one, are ranked lower in technology adoption than their Western counterparts due to multiple factors such as infrastructure, investment, and education. Culturally, there is also some lingering belief that being willing to put in long hours at work is a desirable, even admirable, trait.

As such, Asian employees are known to clock 500 hours or more at work per year, or 7.5 hours or more per week, than their Western counterparts with similar income levels.

It may seem like a huge gap, but Asia is starting to show signs of closing it.

Organisations all over Asia are finding new and innovative ways to lessen in-office time and maximise personal time. They are also beginning to understand and promote workplace culture, so that time spent in the office is not just productive but efficient.

These are in the goal of creating a better work-life balance, which then augments our increasing willingness to travel or pursue recreational activities in our free time.

Singaporeans, for example, are spending 14.4% of household expenditure on travel – up from 5% three decades ago.

As Asia embarks on the path to reducing working hours, what further implications does that have on our lives?

To download the full report on Reimagining Life, please click the following:

Asian Insights SparX: Asia 2030: Live More, Work Less

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