Quarter of Singaporeans almost never leave work on time

Kim HoPR Manager
March 07, 2019, 5:54 AM GMT+0

Six in ten admit to staying back late just to “show face”

Ever feel like you’re spending too much time at the office? You’re not alone, a quarter (25%) of Singaporeans almost never leave work on time, latest YouGov data shows.

The research finds that 22% ‘rarely’ leave the office on time, while 3% ‘never’ do. About half (47%) of Singaporeans leave the office on time ‘most of the time’, and three in ten (28%) do ‘sometimes’.

While there may be several reasons for staying back late, the research suggests that a prevalent one is ‘showing face’; the practice of presenteeism – staying at work for longer than required to boost one’s own professional standing.

When asked if they have stayed back late just to ‘show face’, almost six in ten (61%) Singaporeans say they have.

While two thirds (67%) of Singaporeans think its acceptable to leave the office before their boss, this is view mostly held by high-earners (those earning more than SGD 8,000 a month). Seven in ten (72%) of high-earners find this okay, but less than six in ten (57%) of low-earners (those earning less than SGD 4,000 a month) do.

Six in ten (57%) have also admitted to coming into work even when ill to ‘show face’. Older Singaporeans (those aged 55 and above) are less likely to do this, with six in ten (61%) having never come in while sick, as opposed to younger Singaporeans (those aged 18 to 34), where only four in ten (38%) choose not to show up to work while ill.

YouGov’s data highlights the main reasons why Singaporeans are so concerned about ‘showing face’. Four in ten (43%) believe that its important to do so to advance their career, two in ten (21%) don’t, while 36% are undecided.

In line with the practice of ‘showing face’ is one of ‘losing face’; that is, something that causes people to stop admiring or respecting you. Half (53%) of Singaporeans think it is important not to lose face in the workplace. One third (33%) aren’t bothered while one in seven (14%) believe it is unimportant.

Jake Gammon, Head of YouGov Omnibus in APAC commented: “Productivity is always one of the biggest things businesses have to address; and long hours do not always equate to productivity. However, this research suggests that many Singaporeans are stay back late at work just to ‘show face’ – sometimes trying to curry favour, other times attempting to boost their reputation. In a large number of cases people even come when they are ill.”

***Results based on 756 Singaporeans surveyed by YouGov Omnibus