Above image: Embraer Asia Pacific Pte Ltd is one of 115 SMEs that pledged their support for MFW this year. Embraer organised a Family Day at Kampung Kampus where employees and their families spent quality time together volunteering at a garden facility.
A hearty breakfast with the family, followed by a fun day out at the museum. Sounds like a weekend outing with the family? In fact, this was Biz Square’s “Family Day” programme on Friday, 31 August, as part of My Family Weekend 2018.
A small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) with less than 50 staff, Biz Square is one of the 160 private companies who pledged their support for MFW this year. Despite being small and having limited resources, they were able to implement family-friendly practices to support their employees. This year, more than two thirds of the participation from the private sector came from SMEs, which is a five-fold increase from last year.
My Family Weekend (MFW) is initiated by the Families for Life (FFL) Council and is in its second year running. Participating employers pledged their support by adopting family-friendly workplace options such as flexi-work arrangements, or organising family events such as “Bring Your Family to Work Day” (BYFTWD). This is in support of working parents who would otherwise need to make child care arrangement since schools, including pre-school and childcare centres, are closed for the Teachers’ Day school holiday on 31 Aug.
But what’s in it for the employers? Mr Ching Wei Hong, Chairman of the FFL Council, explains how being family-friendly benefits both employees and employers. He said, “Employers play an important role in promoting family life. By establishing family-friendly practices, companies not only help relieve the burden of worry on their employees, but also boost their morale and productivity at work. This, in turn, benefits the organisation.”
Putting the Fun into Work
Elsewhere in the Central Business District area, City Developments Limited (CDL) senior marketing and communications manager April Chiang’s eight-year-old daughter “went to work” at her mother’s company.
“She enjoys seeing where I work, who I work with and what I do at work,” said the mother of two.
CDL celebrated MFW 2018 with its annual BYFTWD which allows employees to spend quality time with their children by participating in fun activities at the workplace together. They also let staff off earlier to celebrate “Eat With Your Family Day” as part of MFW.
At City Gas, balancing work and personal life is fundamental to happy, healthy employees. The company also organised a BYFTWD on 31 Aug, an event it has been running annually for the past 10 years.
Vice-president (HR & Logistics) Abdul Hamid said, “We observe that happy employees delight customers. This not only improves our company’s image, but also improves employee performance and results in higher levels of employee retention.”
OCBC Bank held its Family Day event at OCBC Centre in support of My Family Weekend Fun Day on Sept 2, where close to 400 OCBC Bank employees and their families spent an afternoon bonding over activities, performances and food.
Learning from Others
While some employers in Singapore have extensively adopted family-friendly initiatives at the workplace, others are still exploring ways to take the first step. To support these employers, FFL Council organised an employer seminar in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden on 23 August 2018. Organisations gained insights from the sharing sessions by leading Swedish companies on their best family-friendly practices, as well as resources and support available to implement family-friendly initiatives in the workplace.
Ms Nurul Amira, Human Resource Officer from a supporting SME, V.Ships Asia Group, benefited from the sharing. She said, “The seminar gave me new insights on how we can refresh our HR strategies to strengthen talent retention and support our employees’ family life through family-friendly practices.”
Everyone has a Part to Play
Apart from the strong support from employers in Singapore, families also joined in the activities lined up throughout the weekend. Community partners organised over 20 events island-wide, such as storytelling and craft activities at museums, a charity run, a concert in the park and a Families for Life Picnic at Singapore Botanic Gardens.
To conclude the Weekend, MFW Fun Day took place at Circular Road as a finale event where the roads were closed to make way for exciting activities such as chalk doodling and puppet-making workshops. More than 1,200 families, including employees and families from OCBC Bank, UOB and Johnson & Johnson, also turned up as part of their family events to enjoy the festivities.
Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee and Families For Life Council members joined children and their families in a chalk doodling activity at Circular Road, which was closed for an afternoon of family-friendly activities for Families for Life’s “My Family Weekend Fun Day” on 2 Sep 2018
Minister of State for the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Mr Sam Tan, said, “Let’s not limit our support for families to just this weekend. Whether we are employers or employees, we should all make the conscious effort to spend quality time with our families and encourage others to do the same.”
Click here to find out more about My Family Weekend 2018.