In spite of the sweeping changes to daily life and the work environment that the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has created, companies can seize this opportunity to provide more flexible work models and utilise new technology to adapt to the new normal at work. To help its employees maintain a healthy work-life balance and improve their physical and mental health, New World Group announced the optimisation of its family-friendly measures, including piloting “Summer Fridays” by experimenting with a four-and-a-half-day work week and a work-from-home day in the summer, while adopting a hybrid work model, to allow employees to more flexibly arrange their working hours and locations. The Group hopes that the measures will improve employee wellness so that they will be better motivated at work and perform efficiently, creating a win-win situation.
Piloting a Four-and-a-half-day Work Week This Summer
Depending on the business nature and specific operations of each subsidiary, the Group will introduce “Summer Fridays” for several suitable business units, such as New World Development, K11 and NWS Corporate Office. The employees concerned are entitled to half-day leave every Friday with no adjustment in salary. In addition, they may also choose to work remotely one day per week. To ensure that employees maintain high efficiency while working from home, the Group will keep in close contact with them and strive to provide the latest technology and technical support.
These pilot measures will be implemented from July to September this year in several of the Group’s business units, and they will be evaluated thereafter. If for specific work reasons, certain employees of these business units cannot enjoy the “Summer Fridays” arrangements, the Group will make alternative flexible work arrangements that are suitable for them to help them achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Supporting Employees’ Work-life Balance to Help Increase Business Productivity
In May this year, Randstad, a global human resources consultant, released the latest Randstad Employer Brand Research study, which found that over 60% of local respondents voted “work-life balance” as the most important employee value proposition. The survey also found that 65% of women considered “work-life balance” to be the top employee value proposition factor they look for in an ideal employer.
In recent years, numerous large multinational enterprises have introduced measures to shorten the work week or reduce working hours to help their employees achieve a healthy work-life balance. For example, this June, a four-day work week is being piloted by approximately 70 companies in the United Kingdom, including software developers, recruitment agencies, charitable organisations and local restaurants. Multinational sportswear brand Nike rolled out “Summer Fridays” this summer, with every Friday ending at noon. Other companies, such as Japan’s Panasonic Corp. and fashion brand UNIQLO, the UK’s app-based bank Atom Bank, and Korean technology company Kakao, have launched measures to successively reduce working hours or workdays to promote employees’ physical and mental health and boost their business productivity.
Building a Family-friendly Culture on Multiple Fronts
New World Group has always been committed to building a family-friend corporate culture to meet the needs of social development, and the health and wellbeing of its employees. At the beginning of the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, the Group quickly implemented flexible work-from-home arrangements. The Group has also been caring for its employees and their family members through different activities and measures, including the introduction of family care leave and subsidising employee education, to help create the ideal work environment and good career development opportunities. The Group will continue to optimise its family-friendly measures, boost the sense of belonging at work, and improve the work experience to attract and retain talent and maintain the Group’s competitiveness in the market.