Malaysians Lack Proper Work-Life Balance as KL Ranks 4th Most Overworked City

A person spends an estimated 13 years and two months, at least 90,000 hours and almost one-third of their lives working, but some of us go beyond that and are overworking to a worrying level.

According to the NST, a survey shows that Malaysian employees are overworked, sleep deprived and suffering from work-related stress as 53% are getting less than seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.

The survey took into account like working hours, holiday days taken, paid maternal/paternal days, commute hours and many other factors. 

In terms of work-life balance, Malaysia ranks 47th while it ranks in the top four for longest working and commute hours, overworked population and fewest minimum vacations offered.

“Asian countries don’t prioritize meaningful work/life balance. I’d say it’s frowned upon in some companies, which is absolutely pathetic.” said a Twitter user, @navinmogan.

“Productivity is not about time management, it’s about #health and #focus. You can’t hit your KPIs consistently when you’re half-dead.”

The Graduan writes that many employees claim the lack of flexibility in the Malaysians working life as according a Business Insider report, 75% of new mothers in Malaysia quit the job for that reason itself; other factors include not up-to-par childcare services and having bosses that are unsupportive.

With the standard working hour set at 48 hours per week for some, it only mounts on to the pressure of trying to balance life and work; with the culture of overworking being implemented in most Malaysians, the long hours of hunching over a computer is taking a toll on them day by day.

A survey by AIA Vitality 2019 of 230 organisations and 17,595 employees found that 84 per cent of employees reported were suffering from at least one or more musculoskeletal conditions. Other than that, the study also includes findings such as:

  • 32% have one or more chronic conditions such as kidney conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke or cancer
  • 90% do not have a balanced diet
  • 42% are either overweight or obese
  • 45% of organisations do not offer mental health services

A healthy nation would require a healthy population at foremost as former deputy health minister, Lee Boon Chye, says that ““The success of a nation is dependent on the health of its people and initiatives such as the Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace survey become increasingly crucial as more and more Malaysians enter the workforce every year”.

Agile working has always been one of the ways experts thought to fix this issue, where an organization delegates its employees to work where, when and how they choose; this not only offer maximum flexibility but also minimum constraints.

Ryan Carroll, Country Manager of Randstad Malaysia, told Focus Malaysia, “Agile working is gaining popularity in Malaysia, as more and more employees want to have autonomy in the way they work. However, as much as technology has helped made it possible to be more productive and creative at work, it can be quite frustrating and intrusive for those who feel that they need to respond to emails immediately, even during the weekends.”

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