Stressed Asian woman at the office.

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s working hours differ from the global 9-5 norm, extending from 9 to 6. This has sparked a discussion as Redditor Ireallylikecorn asked: “Do we really have much more to do compared to the Western workers, in the sense that they work 9-5 and we work 9-6?”

Ireallylikecorn pointed out: “There’re different views online, some would say working in Western countries are much more laidback, relax, there’re also some who said in Western countries workers have higher productivity, but I would beg to differ, longer hours can shun productivity as well. Besides, if the working hours are long, that’s where u hear ppl taking ‘2hr breaks’.”

She added, “In this video, Tharman also agreed the working hours in SG is a little long and we’ve reached the stage where the economy has became competitive already.”


Had a Q&A with Mr & Mrs Tharman. They were previously discussing about reducing stress in schools, & i couldnt help but wonder what could be done about stress in those adulting 🫠 Big ty to @Dargo for filming and editing

♬ original sound – chowjiahui – chowjiahui

In the video, the woman asked about the leading causes of Singapore’s mental health issues. She mentioned three: academic pressures, work demands, and financial stress.

President Tharman Shanmugaratnam answered about work management and culture while adding: “I’m speaking as a citizen and not as a presidential candidate…I think our work hours are a bit too long.”

Boundless pointed out Singaporean working hours: “For those covered and working five days a week, the maximum working hours are 9 hours a day (8 hours if working six days a week) or 44 hours a week, excluding lunch break.”

Working hours in different countries
Photo: Everhour

According to Everhour, “Mexico, Singapore, and Thailand among others work 6 days a week.”

Redditors gave different opinions on the matter. Some agree that Singaporean working hours are long, while some admit that even though it’s long, it doesn’t necessarily mean more work.

One Reddit user said: “Depends on what industry or work you’re in. Some industries or work require you to put in long hours others, 8 hrs is more than enough. But what I know (having worked in both Singapore and a western country) is there is more flexibility given to workers in western countries as they value work life balance.”

User kryew chimed in and added: “If you are efficient, and finish your given work earlier, you will be loaded with more work. Not all bosses, but many… Hence, employee wayang, take 2h break. Culture change will take some time, be kind to your colleagues.”

IAM_Moana shared that another reason why the work hours are longer is the work culture, saying: “We have a culture of taking long lunch breaks, going to eat lunch as a team, getting kopi and bubble tea after, etc. When I was working overseas everyone ate a packed lunch or a sandwich / salad at their desks and quickly went back to work after. Eating together was unheard of.”

Highlighting the flexible working hours outside Singapore, ArtistV-ErizaVerde added: “Mind you, it’s not just about 9-5. It’s also about 7.30am-3.30pm/7.00am‐3.00pm. Yes, flexible working hours. Friends in SG drop their jaws when I tell them I’m going home at 3pm.”

The debate on Singapore’s work hours continues.

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