21 Dec 2018 01:00:00 PM

Caring Workplaces Result in Happy Families

YB Hannah Yeoh at the LIFE AT WORK 2018 Awards.
In a special message, Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development YB Hannah Yeoh talks about the importance of having healthy and safe workplaces.  
This is a time of reckoning for Malaysia. We are making that difficult shift from developing nation to developed nation. Our families are facing the seemingly impossible challenge of juggling increased living costs, and their desire to grow safe and happy families. 
To further complicate matters, our existing workplace culture rewards long hours, appreciating output over outcomes. This makes it difficult for our citizens, whether men or women, young or old, single or married, to fulfil demands of work, family and life at the same time.  

The recently announced Budget 2019’s allocation of RM10 million to the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development towards building 50 childcare facilities in civic buildings is just a first step. This move is a small milestone and we hope it will go a long way towards stopping abuse cases caused by childminders.  

As parents ourselves, we are at peace when our children are near us, safe with well-trained childcare providers. When we have peace, we work better, we are happier. And happy families make a happy and productive country. 

Of course, this New Malaysia with satisfied, productive citizens will not happen overnight. Together with the Ministry of Human Resources, my ministry will continue to grow and expand the impact of TalentCorp’s annual LIFE AT WORK Awards. This is the Government’s way of appreciating and celebrating progressive companies who are committed to embracing work-life practices for the benefit and wellbeing of their employees.

I look forward to seeing more organisations in both the public and private sector stepping up to offer their employees the long-due support systems. When your HR policies are people-focused, you will also surely retain the best talents, attracting parents, women, youth and our most experienced segment of the workforce – senior professionals, to do their best. Work-life practices must also be thoughtful to our disabled citizens, as they too long to contribute to our economy. 

I am cognizant of the disruption that IR4.0 automation and technology is bringing to our industries and our work. However, as a working parent myself, I welcome the Future of Work as a tremendous opportunity. Internet technology and ultra-connectivity has allowed us to do what was previously thought impossible: to deliver information at lightning speed, to work from anywhere in the world and in that process, to redefine the way we approach work. 

To thrive in the Future of Work, Malaysians must be willing to leave our traditional ways of working, and embrace all the possibilities of technology. I truly believe our future is full of opportunities, of which the biggest is the power to finally help Malaysia create a workplace for her citizens that is child-safe and family-friendly. 

This article was originally published in The Edge Weekly on 3 Dec, 2018.