Time to focus on work-life balance

I have come to learn that while government servants are guaranteed two days off per week from work, the number of days off in the private sector depends on the company that a person works for, which ranges from one to two days.

The labour law stipulates that employers must grant their employees at least one day off per week or four days off in a four-week period on any days selected as employees’ days off. For example, having to work 24 days straight is perfectly above board.

However, not getting enough downtime could lead to exhaustion and mental health issues, thus opening doors to mistakes and poor work performance.

So when a company acknowledges the importance of recuperation among its employees, it brings a host of benefits to the business including a more positive work culture and higher motivation to excel. It may even attract quality jobseekers to the company when locals tend to favour the public sector.

My wife currently works for a private company, which grants her one day-off per week. As a government servant, I get to spend ample time with my children, while she comes home every day, exhausted. I try to help out whenever I can, but between house chores and other errands, she struggles to find quality time with our children.

I believe that sufficient number of rest days allows employees to focus better at work as they get to fulfil their duty as a spouse or a friend as well as attend to social engagements during their days off to make life full and complete.

Countless studies have shown that shortening the work week increases employees’ motivation to work, including Microsoft that tested out a four-day work week in August 2019 and found a jump in productivity by 40 per cent!

A New Zealander company made headlines last year when they made permanent a shorter work week after a pilot run showed happier and less stressed employees.

My reason for writing this letter is to bring to light the one-day-off-per-week regulation, which I believe to be outdated. It’s time for a re-evaluation, to keep in line with the increasingly demanding nature of work these days.

Recent campaigns on mental health have raised our awareness on the need to keep depression and anxiety at bay, and I believe work is one of the root causes of them. As such, I hope the authorities could consider work-life balance as key to progress.

Mr Work-Life Balance