18 Sep 2018 06:52:11 PM

LIFE AT WORK 2017 Awards: Best International Organisation PwC Malaysia champions flexibility in the workplace

With technology and global connectivity taking over the traditional way of working, today’s employees are now expected to respond to the work demands anywhere, and anytime. The blurring of boundaries between work and life has now made balancing work, and personal and family obligation difficult for many people.
Recognising this challenge, many employers now provide flexible work programmes to enable their employees to have more scheduling freedom to fulfil their professional responsibilities. Work-life practices (WLPs) range from flexible work arrangement (FWAs) offerings including flex-time programmes (flexi-hour, compressed work week, flexplace and job sharing), to more complex initiatives such as family-care and phased/partial retirement options.

At a PwC Malaysia launch event. All photos courtesy of PwC Malaysia.

At the LIFE AT WORK 2017 Awards, PwC Malaysia emerged victorious as Best International Organisation for its emphasis on flexibility in the workplace.

“Our work-life practices started more than a decade ago with our Work Life Plus Programme for employees who work less than the full, five-day work week,” said Pauline Ho, People Partner for PwC Malaysia.

“This was initially created for young mothers who are also strong performers."
But over the years, as the world demands for more flexibility in the workplace, the programme has evolved into flex+ and now covers all our people.”
Another programme which has made a great impression on PwC Malaysia’s employees is the Rest & Refresh initiative.

PwC Malaysia employees enjoy a wide range of workplace flexibilities.

“Under this initiative, employees get to enjoy a company-wide block leave of at least a week at the end of the year,” explained Ho. “Traditionally, employees will have to take turns at clearing the year-end leave as staff members for each department are required at the office for day-to-day matters. However, with Rest & Refresh, all staff are able to go on leave together, have a break and be refreshed before the new year begins.”

Upbeat posts featuring time spent with families, team activities and relaxing holidays during Rest & Refresh on employees’ social media accounts via the hashtag #restrefreshpwc are testament to the positive impact this initiative has had on the company.

“This initiative has proven to be so successful that clients and other organisations have even reached out to us to learn about our best practices,” said Ho.

Hotdesking at PwC Malaysia

PwC Malaysia’s other WLP/FWA initiatives include flexCare, which provides employees the flexibility to care for a family member who is unwell or to attend to an emergency, and flexMed, where employees have the flexibility to be on medical leave without producing a medical certificate. In addition to these programmes, the company offers the usual annual leave days – medical, emergency, study leave.

PwC Malaysia’s implementation of WLPs/FWAs has benefited its employees and the organisation as a whole.

Pauline Ho, People Partner for PwC Malaysia.

“WLPs ensure that the wellbeing of our employees is taken care of,” said Ho. “In our Global People Survey, we fared better than the global benchmark for the question ‘It is possible to have a healthy lifestyle and be successful in PwC’.”

Commenting on the company’s success in implementing WLPs/FWAs, Ho said that it was important to understand employee sentiment prior to introducing work-life initiatives.
Speak to your employees and gather their feedback and concerns."
"Once there is sufficient data – and it is important that you do not overanalyse – pilot these initiatives prior to implementing them. Prioritise these initiatives to engage your top performer and ensure that the culture of trust is cultivated amongst teams,” she said.

Introduced in 2013, LIFE AT WORK has been enhanced in 2018 to embrace the Future of Work which impacts the Diversity & Inclusion landscape of organisations in the area of:

WORK: Diversity and Inclusion, Learning & Development and Health Benefits
WORKPLACE: Benefits to employees, Flexible Work Arrangements, Employer/Family-Friendly Facilities and Work-life Benefits
WORKFORCE: Automation, Digitalisation, Gig economy, Usage of online mediums for Learning & Development, Usage of social media and digital channels

Award winners and participating organisations represent a network of LIFE AT WORK organisations and carry the LIFE AT WORK brandmark.

This year’s Awards is currently open for submission. To participate, visit www.lifeatwork.my.