A good work-life balance can be a comparative concept.
Mr Gordon Zhong(pictured above with his family), 31, finds no cause for complaint about the duration of his regular work day, which is often 12 hours long.
The head of a marketing department at a manufacturer of electric motors says: “Right now, I have a routine and I can see my children every day. Being able to reach home by 8 or 9pm is a form of luxury.”
Before the birth of his two daughters, Vera, three, and Kiera, seven months, he worked in the navy as an electrical specialist, which took him away from home for up to a month at a time.
This was clearly far from ideal for family life and he left the navy in 2010 after five years there.
While his work day now is still long, it is compensated for by his wife’s shorter working hours.
Mrs Evelyn Zhong, 30, who teaches at West Spring Primary School, picks up Vera from her childcare centre by 4.30pm on weekdays.
This gives her about four hours with Vera and Kiera until 9pm. Getting a domestic helper, who cares for Kiera at home, late last year also “relieved a lot of our work-life struggles”, says Mrs Zhong.
West Spring Primary School’s flexible work arrangements include a ban on work-related e-mail and texts before 7.30am and after 5pm on weekdays, as well as over the weekend.
Teachers need not return to school on Saturdays and for most of the school holidays. They also get two days in the work week where they can leave for home immediately after class, at about 2pm.
“I have friends who get home at about 8pm and barely get one or two hours with their kids,” says Mrs Zhong, who resumes working at home from 9pm for up to 11/2 hours.
“Compared with my peers, I’m able to enjoy more of a work-life balance, thanks to my school.”
The school was recognised by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices in April, winning its Exemplary Employer Award 2016.
While Mrs Zhong feels that there is no “perfect” work-life balance, her present arrangement gives her fulfilment.
“I want to be a good teacher and a good mother, juggling both roles and making it work,” she says.
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