f Six Hundred & Thirty; a happier workplace environment.

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Six Hundred & Thirty; a happier workplace environment.

May 1, 2014 / ,

I know I am a lil' slow, but I finally had some time to read up on the Singapore Budget 2014;
been hearing a bit here and there from the news and a few discussion programs on TV.
There were some points that I did not fully agree with and was slightly skeptical about,
but I think more importantly, I was glad to know about some of the new changes that was implemented.

It is obvious that this year's budget focuses on
driving productivity to restructure our economy,
by providing strong support for companies to invest in innovation and productivity.
On top of that, the other focus was clearly on our Pioneer Generation.
The $8 billion set aside to fund the Pioneer Generation Package helps to assure
our older generation that they are being taken care of.
It's like saving for the 'rainy days'.
As we would have known by now, ageing population is definitely
one key concern for Singapore, and I truly appreciate our government's effort
in coming up with solutions to tackle this problem.

During a tea session with Minister Lim Swee Say some time last year,
he shared with us a lot about the committee at NTUC
(
NTUC: National Trades Union Congress),
& the things that they do/have planned, that is aimed at improving Singapore's labour sector,
with the 4Ps (Progression, Privileges, Placement & Protection) kept in mind.
Glad to see that the budget this year is especially aligned with the 'Progression' part.
Also, with the possibility of having the retirement age extended for the older workers,
it is important for employers to ensure that the workplace is age-friendly!

Speaking of protection at work,
I was chatting with one of my friends recently,
and she shared with me some of her office experiences.
She told me her thoughts about working in an investment bank as a fresh graduate.
& she described her feelings in a word: Suppressed.
Especially since the colleagues around her are mostly older,
and have longer years of work experiences.

That reminded me of a situation 
which I heard from another university friend some time back..
I don't know if you have faced this kind of situation at your workplace before, 
but imagine:
In a meeting, everyone was told to provide their ideas/opinions 
on a new campaign/project,
& as much as you feel like voicing out 
those ideas that you had in mind,
you realized that your ideas are not in sync 
with your boss/majority of the colleagues.
So you either suppressed those thoughts, 
or you tried voicing them out. For the latter,
you received a public humiliation or hostile feedback?
I think this kind of scenario is probably quite common..

It was only after I attended a Legal Primer workshop held at NTUC,
which talked about Workplace Bullying,
 that I found out the situation 
which my friend faced could actually be
classified as workplace bullying.
Well, the first thing that came to my mind,
was that viral video of this supervisor,
slapping an intern and hurling nasty words at an intern.
That, was an obvious workplace bullying case.

By definition, Workplace Bullying refers to:
Verbal/non-verbal behaviours 
with the intentional inflictions of a hostile work environment.

I'm not sure if the victims caught in such situations 
are unaware of the protection that they can get,
or that they choose to suffer in silence
for fear of losing their jobs.....
Of course, workplace bullying may not just be top-down,
it may be the other way too.

How can you identify workplace bullying?

Here are some examples:
-Public humiliation, persistent criticism
-Repeatedly being shouted/cursed at in public or even in private
-Threatening
-Intimidating
-Sabotaging, deliberate hindering of work progress
-Personal insults/name calling
-Unfair punishments out of no reasons
-Being ignored or excluded intentionally
-Increase in amount of workload with unreasonable expectations

At this stage, the best thing to do,
is to seek help from your HR department,
or to consult your union representative.
What if the bullying continues?
This is when you know that the line is crossed,
and action should definitely be taken to stop such behaviour.
Harassment occurs when workplace bullying 
becomes a pattern of conduct, 
which worries or causes emotional distress in an individual,” 



Harassment can actually be classified as a criminal offence or civil wrong,
but when you are faced with such circumstances,
what should you do?

--> Track down the evidences
(Photos, Video/sound recordings like the viral video which I mentioned earlier on)
Document the exact incident down and gather as much evidence as you can;
& it will be even better if you have witness(es) on your side.

--> Consult your HR Department

--> Seek help from the online portal, 

 --> If you are an NTUC Union member, 

you can apply to the court for protection order
"Under the Bill, there will be avenues for 
self-help and civil remedies for victims of harassment.  
For example, the victims may apply to the Court for Protection Orders 
requiring harassers to desist from doing anything 
which may cause further harm to them.  
An Expedited Protection Order 
to protect the victims may be granted in cases of urgency."
Source

By the way, The Protection from Harassment Law,
which was passed in Parliament on 13 Mar 2014,
also deals with other forms of harassment like 
-Sexual harassment
-Cyber bullying
-Stalking

With this year’s May Day message focusing on the need for everyone to be a 
Better Employer, Better Worker, and a Better Customer,
 I hope that employers will treat all their workers with respect and fairness.
When people are happier at their workplace,
only then can they be more productive in their job.
And as customers, let’s be kind to all workers,
so that they too may be able to take pride in their profession. 

Here’s sharing a video to show some appreciation
to the Unsung Heroes in Singapore


I was so touched by this video..
& it truly reminded me to be grateful.
Unsung heroes, indeed.

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At the end of the day,
I think more people should be aware 
of how they can be better-protected at their workplace,
& have a happier work environment! :)
Well, the next thing that I am going to do after publishing this post,
is to tell the friend of mine mentioned earlier, to read this post,
so that she can learn to protect herself from now onward..
At her current new workplace that is. ;)



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