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Not working 9 to 5 may be beneficial

Human resource, long a dynamic industry, is set to be even more demanding.

One of the main challenges is maintaining high rates of employment in the face of an expanding population, an increasingly active senior demographic that is retiring later, and the spread of technological advancements that will take jobs away from human hands.

As evidenced in "The future of work" round-table discussion ("Working 9 to 5 may not work any more"; July 31), there seems to be a shift to an economy where freelancers and contract workers are more common.

These, in addition to part-time workers, are already seen in countries like Australia.

While such employment terms would equate to less work and, probably, correspondingly less pay per person, it could help to spread out the workload to ensure that more available manpower is gainfully employed.

Such a practice would help to provide more opportunities for familial bonding, facilitate greater work-life balance and, if part-time shifts were staggered, might significantly reduce congestion during traditional peak hours.

However, such a scenario would be difficult to maintain in Singapore because of the intensely competitive mindset cultivated here, as well as the extremely high cost of living.

However, if we - the Government, private companies and people - can instil a sense of appreciation for the simpler things in life and also help to keep costs low, this might well result in a more equitable society and sustainable workforce.

Adam Reutens-Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 14, 2016, with the headline 'Not working 9 to 5 may be beneficial'. Print Edition | Subscribe