Wednesday, July 10, 2024
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ST HeadSTart: Is your boss secretly tracking your productivity? | Job referrals for friends: Things you should take note of

Welcome to the latest edition of ST HeadSTart, bringing you the best of The Straits Times’ career and personal finance coverage every Monday morning. Sign up here to get weekly tips right into your inbox.

Good afternoon, and happy Deepavali to everyone celebrating! 

Since most of us have a break from work, that hopefully means no bosses breathing down our necks. A couple of my friends have recently complained about micromanaging employers, which made me reflect on business correspondent Cheow Sue-Ann’s article today. 

She shines a spotlight on companies’ use of employee surveillance tools, which can do a range of things, from allowing staff to log their time spent at the office or working remotely to full-on tracking of an employee’s work habits. What is the impact of close monitoring on workplace morale and overall productivity? Experts say it depends on the intention behind the process, and how the data collected is used. 

How would you feel if your employer used such tools to track your productivity? Tell me more at

Meanwhile, you may have heard of or even benefited from referral schemes, which often offer financial incentives when the candidate we introduce to our employer is successfully hired. But before we think it is a win for everyone – we get the cash, our friend finds a job and our company fills the role – there are a few important things we should take note of before referring someone. After all, recommending a candidate who underperforms can hurt our reputation, says manpower reporter Tay Hong Yi in his askST Jobs column.

I hope you enjoy these stories along with the rest of your holiday today.

What if your boss is tracking your work on your laptop?

Data from employee surveillance tools should be used as mirrors, and not microscopes, an expert tells Cheow Sue-Ann.


askST Jobs: Referring a friend to your company

There are downsides for employees whose recommendations turn out to be unsuccessful, says Tay Hong Yi.


Podcast: How to use ChatGPT responsibly at work

In the latest episode of Career Talk, experts discuss whether companies should draw up rules of engagement with generative AI.


Would you pay to have dinner with strangers?

Groups hoping to spark friendships have popped up in recent years, and are gaining traction from young adults whose social circles have been impacted by life’s big changes.


A night with strangers: Finding friends in my 30s

Social mixers may seem daunting but they can also be a bridge for people looking for genuine connections, says correspondent Lee Li Ying, who shares her own experience. 


The miserable middle manager

How can companies help middle managers be happier? The writer tells us more.


Worried about retirement finances? Consider the CPF Life scheme

Invest editor Tan Ooi Boon shares several tips on how to plan for a stable and continuous retirement income by tapping the CPF Life annuity scheme.


Getting a loan based on art

How much does each piece have to be worth for you to take up a loan? Associate editor Lee Su Shyan speaks to Deutsche Bank’s head of art lending.


Me & My Money: Invest a little, often and early

Hugosave’s co-founder David Fergusson explains why you should hold as little cash as possible and listen to your grandmother.


Overwhelmed by group chat messages? You are not alone

Our relationships with one another can be weird, awkward and messy – group chats reflect this social reality but with an added layer of technological complexity thrown in.


Thank you for reading this week’s round-up of ST’s career and personal finance coverage. Have a great work week ahead. 

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