CEO Joanna Koh-Hoe believes that every sustainable work-life strategy should have a well-articulated work-life philosophy underpinning it, as this provides clarity for employees. “At Focus on the Family Singapore, ‘Flexibility’ is a mindset rather than just a work arrangement. It is about how we work and not about acquiring an incentive or viewing FWAs as an entitlement.”
“Work-life excellence is a shared responsibility requiring personal ownership by the employees as well as the Management perpetuating a ‘Great Place to Work’ ethos.”
Joanna champions the idea that Management need to ‘walk the talk’ when introducing FWAs, “if your employees see positive changes in the way you work and its impact, they would be encouraged to change the way they work as well”. Leaders should also talk about the value of flexibility in the larger context of organisational goals and workplace culture and invite ongoing conversations.
As an early adopter of FWAs, Joanna is keenly aware of the possible challenges employers face during the implementation phase. “For smaller organisations, being willing to try FWAs may require creative thinking as there is a smaller staff strength and budget to work with”. However, she shares that these can be overcome, “employers should not be afraid to experiment. This is a rewarding learning process to identify what works and what does not, in terms of FWA implementation.” As a leader, living out some of the work-life practices and experiences herself, was also helpful in knowing the adjustments to make for each FWA initiative, and how to position work-life for the organisation.
Today, Joanna plays the role of a coach for the rest of Management who are learning how to manage employees on FWAs, and avails herself for consultations on specific work-life issues that individuals may be facing or work-life initiatives the team wishes to embark on.
For employees seeking better work-life harmony, Joanna encourages them to leverage technology as needed, to stay connected at work, but also to implement personal strategies for regular rest and self-care. These skills will help one effectively manage career and personal life for better outcomes.