Work

4 tips to make sure your job has 'work-life balance'

Is work-life balance truly a myth in Singapore? Not anymore, apparently! Check out these four tips that'll help you carve out some personal time
 

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As with most things in life, moderation is key. Many things in our modern world promote a lifestyle of excessiveness. Online shopping encourages excessive consumerism; all-you-can-eat buffets encourage overeating; and vast pools of social platforms stimulate anti-social behaviours in physical settings. And in the corporate rat race, competition causes exhaustion and in some cases, self- exploitation.

Being constantly tied to your job could cause you to be less efficient, less sociable, weak in health and at times, more difficult to work with. With many competing responsibilities like work, spouse and elderly care, personal interests and housework; conflicts between your work and personal life are likely to occur, causing you to be unhappy, ill-tempered or harassed. Inversely, a proper work-life balance should comprise creating and maintaining supportive work environments. This would inspire harmony between work and personal responsibilities and thus strengthen your productivity levels and loyalty to an organisation.

According to a survey conducted by talent consultancy firm Eagle Hill Consulting, nearly two-thirds of female employees indicated that work-life balance is the most important factor for defining overall professional satisfaction. Interestingly, this ranked higher than job security (59%) and compensation (54%). Although a large majority of companies today are aware of the weightiness of providing employees with a decent work-life balance, you will need to be discerning as to which suite of benefits suit you best. This then begs the question: What are some of the key benefits you ought to keep an eye out for during a job search, to achieve work-life balance?

1. Avenue for Pursuit of Personal Goals

Is the pursuit of personal goals important to you? If you were to start a family, how much support will actually be offered to you as an expectant and new mother? Finding out the answers to all these questions are imperative to ensuring long-term job satisfaction.

An outstanding feature of the Singapore Army’s is the flexible benefits that enable employees to seek reimbursement for personal well-being, learning and development, and family support. Well-being subsidies include items like travel/vacation, insurance policies, health screenings and preventive vaccinations, contact lenses, gym membership and fitness class; just to name a few.

On top of that all that, there are other noteworthy welfare benefits like attractive rates in insurance exclusive for SAF personnel and their families, SAF Holiday Resort privileges, family life education and enrichment programmes, social interaction programmes for singles and dental subsidies.

2. Learning and Educational Opportunities

An organisation that offers tuition assistance is a mark of sincere concern for the personal growth and professional development of its employees. It demonstrates their appreciation for the people who work to support their mission. It allows its employees to stay current and train together to develop better understanding of their fields; which is likely to form productive relationships across departmental lines.

The Continuous Learning and Academic Sponsorship Scheme (CLASS) is one such effort by the Army that exhibits sincerity for employee growth. A CLASS framework presents employees with full sponsorship for full-time or part-time studies in local universities, polytechnics or ITE colleges, with the provision of allowance or salary. By offering a variety of sponsorships and scholarships for all educational levels, it also establishes itself as a company that does not discriminate initial academic choices providing even more opportunities for a larger segment of its employees. Recipient of the SAF Polytechnic Sponsorship (EWOS), Master Sergeant (MSG) Cindy Tan said that, “I saw that the scheme could sponsor my studies, while giving me monthly allowances. I feel that the Singapore Army has done a really a good job in providing education for its people. Aside from a wide range of study schemes to choose from, we can even apply for study leaves to revise for examinations.”

Image: Andrea De Martin / 123rf

Atop of CLASS, there are other scholarship schemes that the Singapore Army offers to push its employees to greater academic heights. This includes scholarships for NITEC / higher NITEC, Diplomas and undergraduate studies.

It is also that with an option, women in particular can seriously consider furthering their advance their academics even after having a child or two.

3. Perks Beyond the Paycheck

If work-life balance is importance to you, then you would want your organisation to provide more than just money as part of your job’s compensation.

Personnel in the Singapore Army can enjoy perks like wedding planning services, family life programmes, club membership privileges at Temasek Club and The Chevron. In view of encouraging healthy family life for servicemen and women, grooming and parenting talks with the provision of educational materials are organized for its personnel. Children of servicemen and women also have their academic achievements and pursuits recognized by the Singapore Army with bursary, merit and excellence awards.

4. Flexible Hours Framework for Working Mothers

Once you make the decision to become a mother, your priorities will naturally take a turn. The transformation from womanhood to motherhood is a metamorphosis more profound than any other you would experience.

As beautiful as this discovery may be, many working mothers find themselves trapped in a cycle of guilt – feeling that they are bad mothers because they work and feeling that they are bad employees because they have a child. In order to prevent yourself from falling into this trap, you will need to ensure that a company is able to offer you to the flexibility to put your family before work, if need be. In its Triple-flexi Framework, the Singapore Army entitles mothers to flexible hours – choose from a range of starting and ending times, telework – work from home, and the Part-Time Employment Scheme (PTES) – work a minimum of 9 hours and a maximum of 34 hours.

With other substantial leave entitlements such as childcare and parent care leave, Noraisah, a 2nd Warrant Officer (2WO), from the Army, is able to afford time for her family. When her child was two years and below, she benefited from unpaid Infant Care Leave. And as her child continues to grow, she will be entitled to Full-Pay Unrecorded Childcare Leave:

5 days per child below 12 years old (maximum of 15 days annually) 

6 days per child below 7 years old (max of 42 days annually)

At the end of it all, the job you apply for should grant you balance between work and personal life. You should be seeking purpose in what you do for a living and be conscious of how far it can enable you to nurture yourself as an individual and a career woman. In an environment like the Singapore Army, not only will you be choosing to be different, but also choosing to make a difference.

 

The ‘How to Ensure Your New Job Offers Work-Life Balance’ story is released by Social Metric Pte Ltd on behalf of the Army Recruitment Centre.

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