6 in 10 Singaporeans admit that they don’t leave work on time just to ‘show face’

The Straits Times

The clock strikes 5, signalling the end of a working day. But employees still sit behind computer screens typing away, working overtime.

There are a number of reasons for them to do so – such as trying to meet deadlines, to boost their reputation, or even to curry favour with the higher-ups.

But the majority of Singaporean employees work overtime just for the sake of showing that they’re present – at least according to a survey by market research company YouGov released on Tuesday (Mar 5).

The survey, based on responses from 756 Singaporeans, found that 61 per cent of respondents choose to stay on after their designated working hours just to “show face” – a phrase colloquially used to refer to the act of being present just for the sake of it.

Respondents don’t only “show face” by working overtime, it seems. 57 per cent of them also show up at work even when they’re ill for the same reason.

Only 38 per cent of millennial workers – aged 18 to 34 – choose not to show up at work when they fall sick. This proportion is significantly higher than that of employees aged 55 and above, with 61 per cent saying that they do not come to work at all when they’re ill.

Apparently, there is an underlying reason as to why Singaporeans are so concerned about “showing face”.

Some 43 per cent of respondents say they believe that it helps with career advancement. However, 21 per cent of them do not believe so, while 36 per cent are undecided.

The survey also found that a quarter of Singaporeans almost never leave the office on time, with 22 per cent saying that they “rarely” do, while 3 per cent say that they “never” do. 47 per cent of respondents do leave the office on time “most of the time”, and the remaining 28 per cent do so “sometimes”.

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