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Saturday November 24, 2012

Longer hours do not mean Malaysians are workaholics

PETALING JAYA: They bring work home. Worse, they take it along with them during vacations. Their phone or laptop is like a second appendage so that they can work anywhere, anytime.

But does that mean Malaysians, by and large, are workaholics?

Although Expedia’s 2012 Vacation Deprivation Survey showed that Malaysia has the fourth most dedicated workforce in the world, Malaysians generally spent just 40 hours a week at work.

Based on a five-day work week, that means Malaysians clock in the requisite eight-hour.

This is well-below a study by a university in Netherlands last year which stated that workaholics spent at least 70 hours at work every week. Workaholics, it’s been said, “are excited and energised” about their work.

Neuro-psychologist Dr Nivashinie Mohan, when contacted in Kuala Lumpur, said the “long hours” put in by Malaysian workers did not mean they were workaholics.

“What may seem like people working late every day may not necessarily mean that they are working the whole time.

“Long breaks, surfing the net and talking on the phone could make up a bulk of the working hours just to show employers that they are in the office for long hours,” she said.

Accountant Gina L, 28, said employees who seemed to be focused in front of their computer screens at their workplace were not necessarily “working”.

“They could be on Facebook or chatting with friends on Google Chat. They could do it for a long time, so their work hours are not at all spent doing work.

“Those who procrastinate get their jobs done slower, so perhaps that explains why a lot of them go back home late!”

Public relations associate director Benjamin Tok felt that the decision by many Malaysians to not take leave was not entirely by choice.

“Is it really because we do not take leave, or are unable to obtain leave?”

Engineer Fuad Ibrahim said his visits to some agencies had led him to wonder whether Malaysians were really workaholics.

“Counters seem to close earlier than they are supposed to and at many times, not all of them are manned.”

Related Stories:
A desire to stand out from the crowd is our work culture
They would love to work round the clock if they could
Malaysians put in long hours at work out of necessity

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