Who needs sleep anyway?

There’s been quite a bit of coverage on work-life imbalance recently, (“Long hours the norm in finance”, Straits Times, 28 August 2013; “Long work hours entrenched in Asia banks”, CNBC, 28 August 2013; “Money never stops for Singapore finance workers who regularly work over-time”, efinancial Careers SG, 28 August 2013).

Given this and extant survey findings on the typical work week — for everyone, not just those in finance — it’s really not surprising that high stress and overwork are well-articulated key phrases often heard among the incoherent mumbling of local employees. Work demands have been identified as key stressors for locals across industry, from nursing, teaching, engineering and law, to banking, finance, insurance and IT.

Systemic interventions which provide evidence-based psychological training at the workplace have been found to be helpful to both employee and supervisor. So are online educational resources. Effective coping strategies (“8 ways to achieve better work-life balance, Forbes, 18 April 2013) are key in securing positive outcomes in terms of employee mental wellbeing.

But one has to ask the question, is it really all worth it, the 50+ hour work week? And how long can one sustain that lifestyle? Who needs sleep anyway? At least someone thinks that we should “say ‘no’ to extreme work culture” (Opinion CNN, 26 August 2013).