Monday, August 13, 2012

Do more, work less

With all the bad press on the inflow of foreign labour to Singapore, I believe "Do more, Work less" will be the motto that we should adopt in the future.

Our ministers said that tightening the inflow of foreign labour will cause our jobs to be a risk is based on the assumption that Singaporeans are in a managerial position, overseeing a group of foreigner workers. However for those at the ground, we know that it is quite often that the manager is often a foreign worker, and they tend to be overseeing also a group of foreign workers. Our jobs are already at risk now because Singaporeans are not usually holding managerial positions. The emphasis on quantity rather than quality seems to be also quite prevalent.

Left unsaid is that what will happen if a national crisis happens to hit Singapore. Look at what happened to Japan recently... All the foreigners left almost immediately after the crisis, scrambling out of the country. Singapore citizens only occupy 60% of the population in Singapore. What will happen when 40% of our population flee our shores in a short period of time? Will Singapore be paralysed?

Therefore, I believe that we should stop thinking that importing cheap foreign labour to do the jobs that Singaporeans shun will resolve our problem. It's only a band-aid that will not resolve the root cause of the problem. The recent news on re-designing jobs to improve productivity will be one key area to resolve this problem.

Let's redesign the jobs and attract Singaporeans to take them up. Not only that, there should be a shift in the working mentality. We should stop associating working hours with productivity and focus on "Do more, Work less". Doing housework is one example. It's something that needs to be done but you need time to finish doing it. If you use the right tools however, you'll be able to complete your housework much more quickly, thus freeing up more personal time for yourself.

It's not easy but we might even be able to resolve our fertility and productivity problem all with one stone if we can achieve it. Let's try to do more, and work less.

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