TL;DR – Really can achieve meh? This of course begs the question, is work-life balance easier said than achieved?
When was the last time you knocked off on the DOT and have the luxury to put your phone aside huh? Well, I imagine most of you reading this aren’t so fortunate… Phones buzzing with text requests (often, not even urgent ones) from bosses late into the evening seems to be rather common these days! Now you see why in 2020, Singapore was ranked 2nd for the most overworked city. But wait, being overworked does not always mean being productive OK… In fact, it often has the opposite effect. For decades, we’ve dreamt of this utopian concept… So, is work-life balance really an impossible target to aim for? Well, Royal Plaza on Scotts believes that it can help its employees regain work-life balance.
Royal Plaza on Scotts has implemented no after-hours communication, no-meeting Fridays!
Royal Plaza on Scotts is apparently one of the first organisations in Singapore to implement no after-hours communication, no meeting Fridays and hybrid workplace people practices! Now, the company’s new practices state that employees should avoid work communication after hours, on rest days and public holidays. They believe this will allow employees to get better rest i.e. knock off = speak tomorrow! But of course in reality, it’s often difficult. I’m guilty of bugging my workmates after office hours also lah… “Paiseh, can help me with the report for our 9am meeting tomorrow, pleaseeee?”
The German concept of “Feierabend”
Labour MP Melvin Yong recently spoke in Parliament on the German concept of “Feierabend”, which describes the time after the work day ends and when rest time begins. Mr Yong also urged the Manpower Ministry to do a yearly workplace survey to tackle the wider issues of burnout and mental health. He trusts that a “Right to Disconnect” law would help employees have protected time to rest and recharge and has oontinued to fight for it!
Now, this of course begs the question, is it easier said than done? Apparently Royal Plaza on Scotts has had success! According to the hotel’s General Manager and chief experience officer Patrick Fiat, the pandemic was one of the push factors for them to adopt these new practices. “People are stressed. We can see the anxiety on their faces, the sadness. They do not know when it will stop … So you have all these uncertainties, and we asked ourselves how can we help support? You know, remove some of these barriers of stress.” #nodsinagreement
Well, the management’s attitude towards workers’ welfare is certainly quite something. Not surprising, in 2019, Royal Plaza on Scotts even clinched the Singapore Best Workplaces award during the Great Place to Work Awards 2019!
Hear from 39-year-old junior sous chef Aaron Tan. Aaron has worked at Royal Plaza on Scotts for over 13 years! Aaron shared that before implementing the new initiatives, his colleagues would sometimes contact him after his shift or even when he was on leave. “In the past, it could be a little frustrating at times. I mean, we could already be off work, our minds ready to switch off to spend time with our friends and family, then a message comes in and takes you away from that time.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? More often than not, you drag yourself back to the laptop to continue working.
The implementation of no meeting Fridays has been great for Aaron too. He shared that it has given him more time to focus and prepare for his shift on the weekend. “But now we have more time to deal with all these issues like concentrating on packing the store, organising the items or even planning our duty rosters.” Well done, Royal Plaza on Scotts for your support on workers’ welfare!
A mentally resilient workforce
The pandemic has indeed been nothing but depressing – putting all of us on the possibly biggest rollercoaster ride of our lives. Mental health organisations in Singapore said they received more calls for help in 2020, as Singaporeans struggled with concerns of the pandemic and prolonged isolation. But then, it has put the topic of mental wellness in the spotlight. Tackling workplace burnout is more important than we think! After all, a mentally resilient workforce leads to a safer and more productive work environment for all. Agree? Is work-life balance really impossible? Well, maybe not after all. Now, can someone hit my boss up?