These days, almost everyone puts in excess hours beyond the regular eight-hour workday to keep up with our fast-paced and highly competitive working environment. The promise of recognition and career progression is enough to motivate the younger generation, the singles, and those married without children into putting in these extra hours. But for those who have their own families, especially those with young children, sacrificing family time for work may not be worth it.
Does that mean women should quit their jobs once they become mothers? No, because while some companies continue to believe that extended desk-time is an indication of a productive company, more and more corporations now prioritise a healthy work-life balance for their employees.
Recently, I received an invitation to visit the ultra-modern Charles & Keith Group Headquarters at Tai Seng Link, where I had the honour of touring their office and learning about their people.
During my visit, I learnt that despite being one of the most established and successful retail chains in Singapore and the region, the Charles & Keith bosses still maintain a friendly and caring attitude towards each and every one of their employees.
Like in a family, there is a degree of openness and approachability between the bosses and their employees, and within the office. When help is needed at the frontline, the back-end employees never fail to lend a helping hand.
This reminded me of how my colleagues often come to my aid unconditionally whenever I need help, and how everyone here at SingaporeMotherhood and SingaporeBrides (yes, including the boss) gathers together for meals whenever we can, like in a family.
One thing that struck me during my tour of the beautifully-designed Charles & Keith building was how much the bosses understand the importance of creating a comfortable and livable environment for their employees to work and relax in.
There’s a part of the office filled with hardworking employees and the latest technological gadgets, and then there’s the part where they get to unwind and have fun — in the lounge, the mini gym, or the entertainment corner. Know what that reminds me of? A home, where you have areas dedicated to work as well as to fun and relaxation.
But let’s be honest, working from home beats working in a homely environment, doesn’t it? With this in mind, the bosses have given their employees at Charles & Keith the option to do either (just as we do at SingaporeMotherhood!). For working mothers, there couldn’t be a happier marriage between work and family — being able to contribute to the family finances, and still be a part of our child’s growing-up years.
Besides sparing a thought for their employees’ welfare, the Charles & Keith bosses are also huge advocates of their employees’ personal and career development. They hire and groom talents and are more than willing to help their employees grow in whatever way they can. To them, “talents” are not measured by the stamp of approval given by one’s academic institution. Rather, these are the individuals who display the aptitude and willingness to learn new things and skills.
For these talented individuals, the bosses are more than happy to provide them with the training required to succeed in their roles. They are also generous when it comes to employee benefits, giving their employees special perks like a shopping budget (for retail store managers), and leave for birthdays and shopping!
By the way, I myself know just how splendid special days off and a boss who understands the need to show his employees that he cares about them as a person are, because we at SingaporeBrides and SingaporeMotherhood enjoy them too! Aside from birthday leave, those of us who are married and have children are entitled to days off to celebrate our wedding anniversaries and children’s birthdays!
With bosses who show this much care and thought for their employees, it is no wonder that I did not see a single disgruntled face in the Charles & Keith office, even from employees who are married and who have their own families. I guess that’s one sign of a positive work environment — that even working mums approve of and are happy to be a part of.