Real Issues: Boosting Productivity in Singapore: Automation or Motivation?

By Joanna Tan
Corporate Communications Specialist

Office workers in Singapore were found the least productive among 11 countries polled by enterprise software firm Unit4. The excessive amount of time spent completing administrative and repetitive tasks took up as many as 47.5 work days of two months of a working year.

“Left unchanged, this productivity issue could be crippling for business, particularly services organisations that rely on the strengths and output of their people,” said Stephan Sieber, CEO of Unit4.

Many employees have placed their confidence in the automation brought about by digital or virtual assistance, to take over more administrative tasks and free them up to be more productive in their primary duties. However, working amidst increasingly automated environments poses energy-draining challenges for them, impacting their engagement with their organisations — an issue that organisations in Singapore struggle with, having the lowest employee engagement scores in Asia.

Energy drainers at the workplace

Without getting to the core of engaging and motivating Singapore’s workforce, productivity will continue to suffer. Whether we are dealing with an excessive amount of administrative tasks or navigating the mundane environment that increased digitisation may bring, there will never be workplace environment void of “energy drainers.”

Founder of Danish company Motivation Factor, Helle Bundgaard found in her neuropsychology research and methodology on motivation, that energy drainers can cause anxiety and demotivation and when this happens, the brain is “hijacked,” making it extremely difficult for individuals to use their talents effectively and stay motivated in their work.

“Research has shown that up to 80% of what drains our energy has to do with external factors, but being able to identify our energy drainers and shift our focus to what we can influence is an important starting point on the journey towards sustained motivation,” shares Helle. 

Motivation as the key to productivity

Helle herself has come a long way on her personal journey of motivation. Once making it her goal to be an IT millionaire, which she achieved by her mid-30s, she soon found herself having neither the passion nor purpose to stay where she was.

In reflecting on her own journey, Helle cited how she was inspired to embark on an intensive four-year research endeavour to discover what truly motivates individuals intrinsically to be more productive and perform their best at work. Based on neuropsychology findings, the Motivation Factor® Framework developed details motivation with modern brain science.

The Motivation Factor® Framework has been used by businesses across Europe, the US and has now made its way to Asia-Pacific with the company’s most recent partnership with PACE.

“Helle’s compelling story and science-backed approach is what organisations really need right now to effectively manage a workforce that struggles with low employee engagement. Employees need to be challenged at levels that match their skills to prevent boredom and anxiety — two types of energy drainers that decrease motivation, and ultimately affect productivity,” explains Dr. Lily Cheng, Founder and Chief Catalyst at PACE and Motivation Factor’s certified partner in Asia. 

In a time where there remains “much to be done” to improve productivity among Singaporeans, as remarked by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a National Day dinner speech, it is essential that Singapore’s workforce gets to the core of low productivity, and pulls out the real roots of poor employee engagement at work.

Ready to unlock the key to sustained employee engagement and motivation at work? Email to explore our Real Motivation™ solutions.