Youth Roundtable Series : Work Life Balance
Date : 20th February 2016
Time : 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Venue : Ministry of Works, Kuala Lumpur
The Youth Roundtable Series is a new initiative by the Perdana Fellows Alumni Association to bring youth leaders from various political, social and economical divides discuss issues of national interest in an open manner. We aspire to catalyse this transformation and inspire other organisations to champion the culture of agree to disagree. We are proud to have collaborated with eHomemakers and Young Corporate Malaysians (YCM) in organizing our second Youth Roundtable, themed “Work-Life Balance”, in conjunction with the ASEAN Work-Life Balance Conference that was held from the 23rd to 25th of February 2016.
Work-life balance (WLB) is personal; it is a comfortable state of equilibrium between work and a private lifestyle in terms allocation of personal resources to family, the community, culture and the individual. The idea of a work-life balance is admittedly still novel to some, and to an extent taken quite lightly. But with the rising demands of today’s socio-economic development, an increasing number of people struggle for WLB. Long working hours, time-consuming commute between home and workplace, lack of affordable childcare, scarcity of flexi-time or telework opportunities are some of the factors that hinder WLB.
Our roundtable discussion revolved round two topics, that is, Talent Retention and Alternative Employment. Today’s labor market is also seeing an increasing participation of women, an ageing population and the retirement of baby boomers – a new paradigm that pressures companies to recognize the need to strike a balance between work and life as one of their talent retention strategies.
Talent retention refers to the extent that an organization or country manages to retain its skilled work force, usually on three main levels – organizational, geographical and industrial. Alternative employment consists of both formal and informal policies allowing employees’ temporal flexibility in their professional schedules, moving away from the rigid 40-hour workweek. Some of the initiatives are job-sharing, working from home, flexi hours and flexi place.
We aspired to provide a platform for young professionals from various corporations to share and discuss best practices for WLB. The outcome of the roundtable was presented to the ASEAN Secretariat in conjunction with the 2016 ASEAN WLB Conference.
In his keynote address to young professionals, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala stressed the importance of “ruthless prioritisation” in the pursuit of achieving a healthy personal life while striving for a successful career.
This, he elaborated to mean learning how to say no to things that are not aligned with a person’s “True North” – which in this context is what matters at the end of the day to that person.
“Narrow your time to your obsession. If you love your work, you'd love your life. Life is enjoyable when you love work.”
Panel Discussion: Achieving Your Work-Life Balance
We would like to extend our gratitude to our four distinguished panelists and moderator Syed Saddiq, a PFAA member, for making their valuable contribution to the discussion. Here are some quotes from the panelists:
“Companies realize that they have to accommodate employees in WLB to attract the best talents,”
- Mr. Johan Mahmood Merican, CEO of Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad.
"Blend in work with life and achieve optimal results at work and in life,"
- Mr. Marc Woo, Head of eCommerce and Travel, Google Malaysia.
"You must have passion towards your work, life and family. Continue to juggle them,"
- Ms. Farah Rosley, EY Malaysia Tax partner.
“Employers need to understand how employees want to achieve WLB,”
- Dr. Shariha Khalid, Founder & Managing Director Scope Group.