Singapore Work Culture

Singapore is a small country but it is a global business hub and vital financial hub in the Asia region. The second best country in the world for the ease of doing business according to the World Bank ranking in 2021, it is no wonder that lots of businesses are not only owned by their own citizens but also owned by foreigners and in this case, it makes Singapore have an east meets west work culture. With multi-ethnic society, Singapore is a melting pot of cultures. So combined the multi-ethnic society with many foreigners who own and run businesses also work in Singapore, we can imagine the work culture can become very diverse.

  • Workaholic culture
  • Singapore is reportedly one of top 5 countries in the world with longest working hours. According to the Ministry of Manpower, on average, employees in Singapore work for 45 hours per week or even more. But in terms of productivity among the developed nations in the world, they score low.

  • Hierarchical working structure
  • When older people are in a lower position than younger people who work with them, the younger people still need to show respect towards the older ones so it’s best to not call them by their first name without addressing Sir or Madam. When it comes to making decisions, the immense power of making decisions lies in the hands of the people who have higher positions. Employees just follow directions and comply with the orders without questioning.

  • Know the boundaries
  • Never touch or play with someone’s head even in playful manners or you’re very close with your coworkers. Just like many countries in Asia, head is considered sacred in Singapore so best to avoid it. Feet are considered dirty, so don’t point at someone or something with your feet. It is rude. Some coworkers who are muslims may not shake hands or hugging opposite sex, you can bow your head slightly and smile to greet them.

  • Strict rules
  • Follow the rules that companies have established. It is quite popular that Singapore has strict rules for everything and people rarely violate them, it goes the same way in the workplace. Like other Asian cultures, workers tend to stick with the rules and have working patterns they follow to do their job. Local employers in Singapore somewhat don’t want employees to propose wild ideas.

  • Saving “face”
  • Saving face is a term to describe not to ruin your reputation or someone else’s reputation. It can also be defined not to embarrass yourself or others. Don’t criticize, berate or confront your coworkers, manager or boss in public. It’s a big no and you will end up with awful consequences such as leaving resentment and hard feelings.

Singapore is a melting pot where multi cultures and people from different ethnicities meet. It is best to learn to adjust with the work culture so that you can save yourself from any problems, perform better at your job and advance your career.

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