Thursday, April 06, 2006

On time every time

Work-life BalanceWhen I was working for my previous boss, I made it a point to come into the office on time. In fact, I have always practiced being on time whether work started at 8am, or 8.30am or even 9am. I have honed my sense of timing so well over the years that I am seldom, if ever, late for work. By the same token, I make it a point to leave the office on the dot, whether that is 5.30pm or 6pm - not a minute earlier or later. I believe that this is only right by me and by my boss. There have been occasions when I have been held back by some meeting or some work needed urgent attention that cannot be held over the next day. Fair enough, I put in the hours, but those are exceptions.

There has been some discussion over the issue of work-life balance, and how woefully lacking it is in the Singaporean worker. Whether it is the boss' fault, or the employee, or the business, or a real or imagined force that goads you to put in unholy hours every day, a lack of work-life balance is simply wrong. I believe in work-life balance, that the family - the wife and children - are just as important as work. And this is not my opinion only. Madan Birla made the same point in his book, Fedex Delivers, arguing from experience how important having a work-life balance was to Federal Express employees' ability to innovate throughout its history. Fedex is renown not only for its door-to-door express delivery service, which it invented, it is also well known as a company that initiated many innovative practices such as package tracking.

Read his book and I am sure you will be a believer and start living a more healthy and balanced life. Employers, especially, should take note if you want your company to grow meaningfully in the long run. It is better to have innovative employees than hardworking employees who are all too ready to lick your boots or heels, whichever the case may be. They have a downward orientation whereas innovative employees constantly look (up) to doing things better.

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