ALMOST 70 per cent of Malaysian workers put in an additional two to five hours at work, thus neglecting quality time with their families, in order to fulfil the expectations of their bosses.
As a former senior human resource manager, I can say that it is true that despite having an annual leave roster, at the end of the year, more than 50 per cent of employees do not finish their annual leave.
Overtime is inevitable because of unreasonable deadlines and work overload, resulting in nearly 75 per cent choosing to stay late at the office to complete their work lest their appraisal cites them as poor performers. Poor ratings will affect employees' annual increment, bonus or career progression in their organisation.
Human resource departments play an important role to educate, engage with employers and employees on labour law and the do's and don'ts of enforcing the law, failing which it becomes a non-compliance issue.
Companies should organise inter-department sports and games to make things more exciting and rewarding for staff.
The biggest problem in many organisations is that there is a lack of talent development and, thus, they become dependent on the same person for everything and the employee is unable to take leave or if on leave, is often called back.
Another problem in many organisations is unnecessary meetings. Heads of departments must set priorities in such meetings and determine whether they are necessary.
In a multinational company that I worked in, the managing director persuaded employees to leave the office after working hours to spend time with their families unless there is an emergency. The managing director believed in work-life balance and every quarter, the sports club would organise team activities and invite family members for outings.
However, there are bosses who do not leave their employees alone even when they are on leave.
The employees still get Whats- App, text messages, emails or phone calls, which disrupt their holidays.
Many organisations are now practising flexi-working hours instead of fixed hours and allow staff to work from home. This allows parents to have time with their children.
A happy employee is a productive one. Good work practices will reduce absenteeism, stress and burnout, and help retain talent within a company.
C. Sathasivam Sitheravellu, Seremban, Negri Sembilan New Straits Times Opinion Letters to the Editor 05/01/2013