Wednesday, 10 September 2014

flexWorkLife.my Empowers Women with Flexible Work Practices


Balancing time for family and career is never easy…but what if you can get the best of both worlds?

family motherhood

I’ve always believed that women have the toughest jobs in the society. We work hard to build our careers, climb the corporate ladder, be the best of who we are and then we reach a point in our lives when we have to raise or take care of our family, being forced to make difficult choices between career accomplishment and nurturing the family. This applies not only to mothers but to women who will eventually have to choose between succeeding and allotting their time to take care of their aged parents. Women are always expected to be THE caretakers of the family and THE ones who have to sacrifice their jobs. And while men are accepted to have their ‘me’ time or time with their friends, women, more often than not, have to sacrifice all these in favor of time for the family. We sacrifice our time, our careers, our potentials to reach the peak of our success…and don’t even get me started with expectations to stay fit and beautiful after birth or as we age!


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I’ve been in the corporate work force for more than 10 years now and I’ve seen many women who had to make the painful choice of giving up their jobs for the sake of having more time for the family. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to choose family over career BUT it’s sad to see intelligent, results-driven individuals leave the organization where their skills and strengths can lead to more successes. It is a known fact; the long hours and demands of a job give us less time and strength to lead a balance between work and life.

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How to balance work and life if work eats up all of our time in a day?

It was a very interesting and enlightening afternoon when I encountered Urban Mom’s talk show in One Utama last weekend. Did you know that there’s an organization in Malaysia that recognizes the need among individuals to have a work-life balance? For the first time, I got acquainted with a portal named http://www.flexworklife.my, an organization that aims to build a network of employers and talents to optimise work-life integration while maximising work efficiency and enhancing employee engagement. The talkshow, “I Made A Career Comeback”, featured 2 women who experienced the challenge of giving up their career for a while and successfully managed to regain their fruitful careers. But the great news is, this time around, these 2 women have made a career comeback that gives them flexible working arrangements or flexible hours, giving them the work-life balance they need. Say what again??? Flexible hours? Work-life balance? These are possible?

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At the Urban Mom & flexWorkLife.my talkshow, “I Made a Career Comeback” (from left: 1. Ms. Salika Suksuwan, Head, Industry Partnerships, Talent Corporation Malaysia, 2. Ms. Nisa Hidayah, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Standard Chartered, 3. Ms. Pauline Teo, HR Analyst, BASF Asia-Pacific Service Centre Sdn Bhd, and host)

Women have strong potentials and capabilities to make significant contributions in building businesses and economies. But did you know that in Malaysia, the labour force participation rate of women is lower than neighboring countries like Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia?

And why do women stop working?


TOP 3 REASONS WOMEN LEAVE THE WORKFORCE:

1 – To raise a family
2 – Lack of Work-Life Balance
3 – To care for a family member

Source: Retaining Women in the Workplace, ACCA & TalentCorp, 2013



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Should it really be a choice between motherhood/family and work?

Good news is, women (and even men) who find it challenging to return to their careers after some time can now gain support from flexWorkLife.my and organizations who have recognized the need to retain women workers and talents in the workforce. More and more companies are now working towards providing the best working practices for women such as flexible working hours, working from home and even childcare centres at the workplace. I was happy to find out that established companies are now part of this drive to empower women. Here are some of the companies that have started providing flexibility in the workplace:
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Whether you are a job seeker or an employer, you will find a lot of support and benefits via flexWorkLife.my and the organizations that have started flexible work practices. There is even tax  incentives support for companies that practice parent-friendly working environment and efforts to retain women in the workforce. This is amazing. 
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Several times in my career, I did experience sacrificing my job to spend more time with my family, mainly my growing up son. It can be stressful and frustrating when a mother has to sacrifice family time for the sake of holding a job, making an income or working to succeed. Personally, I don’t believe that longer working hours directly translates to productivity (in the same way I don’t believe that those who work overtime are necessarily hardworking or efficient). Flexibility in the workplace is a smart, strategic concept if a company aims to maintain diversity, strong talents and, most of all, the significant value that women play in the organization.

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Of course, that day in One Utama wouldn't end without my son shopping for something...well, he found something at Hamleys...

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