Supercharge your work

We have everything you need to be happy, healthy and successful in your career with this guide.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel


Our experts

JOSH BORDER, associate director of sales and marketing, HR and secretarial support, Randstad Singapore
JOSH BORDER, associate director of sales and marketing, HR and secretarial support, Randstad Singapore
SHER-LI TORREY, career coach and founder of mumpreneur network Mums@Work
SHER-LI TORREY, career coach and founder of mumpreneur network Mums@Work


Do it and see how much more successful you can be.

1. It’s Not Nice to Claim Credit for Your Work

It used to be frowned upon if you talked about how much work you’d done, much less highlight your achievements. Doing so was often seen as bragging but Josh Border, associate director of sales and marketing, HR and secretarial support at Randstad Singapore, says it’s perfectly fine to be proud of a job well done, as long as you don’t come across as gloating.

One way to do it: “Acknowledging others for their input or joint efforts is a good way to claim credit while still recognising and motivating those around you,” he says.

Sher-Li Torrey, career coach and founder of mumpreneur network Mums@Work, adds: “It’s important to combine substance with self-promotion. If you have put in effort to get a project going, you should talk about your contribution to its success.”

2. You Must Never Say No to Your Boss

Traditional Asian values place a high emphasis on hierarchy, so people tend to defer to their bosses – even if they disagree.

Josh says open and honest communication is needed, so that any concerns can be discussed. You should be able to tell your boss if you’re overburdened, if you’re uncomfortable with a task or if you’re running into problems with a project.

Far from making you look incompetent, bosses appreciate staff who can add value to the organisation. “It’s fine to raise problems to your bosses, but you have to make it clear you have thought through those issues in detail and offer possible solutions,” says Josh.

When you speak to your supervisor, suggest an alternative solution if you can, adds Sher-Li. Try this: Word your request so it presents a win-win situation for both you and your supervisor – it’s more likely to be accepted that way.

3. Keep Quiet – Don’t Speak Your Mind

Being able to express your opinions makes you stand out in your manager’s eyes – if you do it correctly. “Make sure your opinions are objective and constructive,” advises Josh. “Senior management and leaders appreciate open feedback – and you should not be afraid to express your thoughts, especially if you think they can influence or bring about positive changes.”

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4. Don’t Be Friends with Your Colleagues

“Being friends with your workmates encourages better collaboration, as people are more inclined to help a friend than an acquaintance,” says Josh. So long as there’s a common understanding that everyone remains professional when it comes to work.

Having a good relationship with your colleagues promotes teamwork and provides an outlet for you to discuss issues, problems and challenges at work – leading to more success. It doesn’t mean that you need to give your team a play-by-play of how your weekend went or even have weekly group dinners together.

5. You Need to Work Overtime

It can be a little tricky attempting to break this rule. Whether you work after hours or not depends on the circumstances and the industry you work in, says Josh.

In advertising, media, public relations and creative agencies, staying late may be required if you have a time-sensitive project. However, in companies with a standard 8-to-5 work day, you may appear inefficient if you are constantly staying behind to complete your work long after your colleagues have headed home.

“If you are able to deliver on your projects and meet all your deadlines within standard working hours, you should not feel obligated to stay back just because everyone is doing so,” advises Josh.

“However, if there is a project that requires everyone to put in extra hours as a team in order to see it to completion, do so to show that you are a team player.”

6. You’re Doomed If You Don’t Check Your E-Mail Outside of Work

You want to stay on top of your work, and the ease of being connected 24/7 makes it a breeze to thumb through your e-mail wherever you are. But does it help your job performance?

Josh says, “You should not feel obligated to check or reply to e-mails outside of working hours unless you are in a job that requires you to be on standby 24/7.”

You should disconnect from your inbox after work. “It not only lets you recharge, you can give your loved ones the attention they deserve,” he adds. MAY 2016 | SIMPLY HER 51 And really, if there’s something urgent that needs your immediate attention at night, your bosses and coworkers can always call you.

7. You Should Keep Up with Work While on Holiday

It could be something as simple as replying to a Whatsapp message or replying to e-mail, to sitting in front of your computer for a stretch to complete your work. All of it is a worrying trend.

“It defeats the very purpose of a holiday – when you should be taking a much deserved break, and/ or spending time with family, friends and loved ones,” says Josh. Not being able to leave your work worries behind when you’re on vacation means you could get burnt out quickly, which does no favours for your career.

8. You Should Never Admit You’re Wrong

Acknowledging that you made a mistake doesn’t make you look incompetent. “In fact, regardless of your position in the organisation, the ability to admit your mistakes shows strength rather than weakness,” says Josh. “It takes courage to admit your mistakes. And people will appreciate your honesty and humility – and be more empathetic than critical.”

Although, you should make a conscious effort not to repeat the error. That’s the fastest way to lose credibility with your colleagues.

9. Don’t Do More Than What You Are Required to Do

Some people think keeping their heads down and working within their job scope is enough to make an impact at work. They couldn’t be more wrong. “Going above and beyond in your role is a surefire way to stand out. If you are looking for quick career advancement and promotion in a competitive work environment, you would be well served in doing more than the basic requirements of the role,” says Josh.

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Keep your body and brain fuelled with these healthy eats. Kong Woan Fei, dietitian at Columbia Asia Hospital in Malaysia, recommends these foods.


It’s well known that bananas are high in potassium and can help lower blood pressure, but did you know they also have a small amount of vitamin A? Yes, eating a banana every day can actually promote healthier eyes. So if you have to look at the computer screen all day, pack a banana to work with you. But also don’t forget to rest your eyes by looking away from the computer every 20 minutes or so.

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It’s no surprise that blueberries are one of the most popular fruit of all time. Not only are they sweet and succulent, these little orbs also appear to have significant benefits for people with high blood pressure. If you are constantly working under pressure, stock your office fridge with blueberries, as eating them on a regular basis can help reduce your risk of getting hypertension at an early age.

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Low-fat Plain Yogurt

Studies show that one of the many benefits of yogurt is its ability to boost the immune system and fight infection. This is especially good if you work in a confined space, where the chances of getting sick are much higher. One small tub of low-fat plain yogurt a day will help to defend your body.

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Boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs are the perfect afternoon snack – they’re naturally high in protein and low in calories. They’re extremely easy to prepare and pack too – in the morning, boil the eggs for about eight minutes, peel and store in a container for later, to eat on its own or with a salad. Remove the egg yolk if you’re worried about cholesterol; the white contains zero cholesterol.


A million-dollar smile could take you places, which is why it’s vital to have healthy teeth. The mildly acidic nature of apples, combined with their fibre-rich flesh, makes them the ideal food for cleansing and brightening your pearly whites. And they keep hunger pangs at bay too.

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Bran Cereal

When you don’t have time to go out for lunch or have to work really late, eat bran cereal. The high fibre content keeps your body feeling full for longer. For more flavour and nutrients, add raisins or nuts to your bowl.

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Unsalted Roasted Almonds

Widely known as one of the healthiest nuts, almonds are rich in lean protein that boost energy and help in repairing brain cells, thus improving memory. Load up on these healthy nuts to keep you sharp and alert whenever you’re in an important meeting.

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Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E and folate, which are vital in maintaining heart health. A healthy dose of these seeds has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. So the next time you’re feeling stressed out over a big project, snack on sunflower seeds to help your heart.


Our experts tell us what atypical work arrangements are available, and which industries and careers are best suited to them.

Work from Home

Best for: Writers, accountants, designers, field sales roles

What to note: You need high levels of self-discipline and self-motivation. Set deadlines and keep to them. And if you are working with a team, it is crucial to have clear communication schedules.


Best for: All roles

What to note: In hot-desking, you don’t have your own desk or cubicle. You simply use whatever is available when you come into the office. So, if you work for a company that has multiple work sites that you need to be at, you could choose to head to the office closest to your home on the days where you’re not needed at the other locations. Being free to move around and sit in different areas in the office also means you’re likely to interact with others and increase collaboration.

Part-time Work

Best for: Almost any role, except if you’re required to meet clients on a frequent basis.

What to note: You need to figure out how much of the work can be split into segments. Also, make sure the workload matches the amount of time you can put in and be careful not to over-promise. Remember that your time is limited compared to a traditional work arrangement.

Compressed Work Week

Best for: Marketing, public relations executives

What to note: In a compressed work week, there are clear schedules that mix personal and work appointments. So on days you’re off, someone else on your team should be available to meet a client’s needs. Clients also need to be aware of when you’re available.

Working on a Project Basis

Best for: Designers, writers, copywriters

What to note: You have to allocate sufficient time for each project. And since income is not as stable as a standard or contract job, you need to budget well. You may also need to spend time soliciting for work if there is no middle person to help you secure projects.

Flexible Work Hours

Best for: Global and regional roles, employees with young families

What to note: If you’re in a global or regional role, you may need to be on standby for conference calls and meetings during odd hours of the day due to time-zone differences. Some employees also work completely different hours of the day as they work in tandem with other countries – for example, bankers who monitor the US or European financial markets.