Work-life balance a win-win for bosses and workers

The dire consequences brought about by the overtime culture in Japan and South Korea underline the importance of having work-life balance ("Worked up by overwork"; Jan 17).

It is sad that working overtime has become a way of life in both countries, and that employees equate working long hours with diligence, and view tiredness as a badge of honour.

They fail to realise that chronic overwork can have a negative impact on one's health, happiness and overall quality of life.

Moreover, it adversely affects their work performance, leading to poor business results.

I am heartened by many companies here which have adopted a work-life policy.

This can pay dividends, such as increased staff productivity, lower absenteeism, higher staff morale and increased levels of engagement. This is a win-win situation.

There is nothing wrong with employees having to work overtime occasionally. For instance, employees in retail outlets are required to work beyond normal hours during festive periods like the Chinese New Year to cope with increased customer demand for goodies.

Other than that, overtime should not be the norm. If left unchecked, it will result in increased health and safety risks, and other workplace problems.

It will be a no-win situation for all stakeholders.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2017, with the headline 'Work-life balance a win-win for bosses and workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe