Working together towards the elusive work-life balance


Photo by Lim Weixiang


YEO MIU EAN
TRAINING CONSULTANT SPECIALISING IN WORK-LIFE HARMONY AND ADVOCATE FOR PME UNIT
 

IT HAS BEEN A FULFILLING JOURNEY FOR ME AS AN ADVOCATE AS I GET TO CONTRIBUTE BUT I ALSO GET INSPIRED AND LEARN FROM THE SHARING BY THE OTHER ADVOCATES.

 

    I was pleasantly surprised when I found out during a legal workshop I attended that NTUC had a unit dedicated to the welfare of PMEs like me. Prior to that, my knowledge of NTUC was very rudimentary, I knew that they represented workers in Singapore, but that was all.

    After attending a few other subsequent events, I found out more, and was impressed by the breadth and depth of work that NTUC had done, behind the scenes. Besides lobbying the government and negotiating with employers to ensure workers enjoy fairer treatment and a better workplace, they also have different units, such as the family unit, looking beyond the workplace and working hard to improve the lives of workers in a holistic manner.

    I decided that I had something to contribute as well, and started to partner with NTUC's PME Unit as an advocate. I am passionate about helping workers to enjoy better work-life harmony. I believe for many workers today, it is no longer just about excelling in the workplace. It is about being good in life, doing your best outside of work as well - being a good father, a good husband, a good son, or doing good for the community.

    It’s certainly not easy for PMEs to achieve the right balance. As a PME advocate, I share my ideas and give feedback during the sessions organised by the PME Unit. From time to time, I partner with NTUC to conduct talks and workshops aimed at helping PMEs discover ways to free-up time outside of work. There are actually many ways to free up your time. Companies and workers can explore flexible work arrangements. For example, by allowing workers to work from home on certain days, you cut down the time expended on travelling from place to place. Or you could try to maximise your work-effectiveness. For example, do you really need to spend 20 minutes going through 10 different animations and 15 different font types trying to decide which one to use for a slide that is flashed on the screen for less than 10 seconds? Very often, the differences are minute. These are all work-life choices or trade-offs. Every five minutes in an hour that you spend on something that is non-essential, like surfing Facebook, for a nine-hour day, you will have to spend an extra 45 minutes finishing up your work, which is time away from your family or your hobby. When you say ‘Yes’ to something, what are you saying ‘No’ to?

    It has been a fulfilling journey for me as an advocate thus far. I get to contribute my thoughts but I also get inspired and learn from the sharing by the other PMEs. I hope that NTUC will deepen their efforts to promote work-life harmony – so that we can be a ‘Home’ for people and their families and not just a place for people to make money.

 

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This story is part of the PME Conversation book which was launched in April 2015. To read more stories, click here.

 

 

 

 

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