UOB Malaysia puts mental well-being at the heart of its new approach to work post COVID-19
Gives employees choice to balance how and where they work
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 24 November 2021 – UOB Malaysia today announced that it is giving the majority of its almost 5,000-strong workforce the choice to work remotely up to two days a week once COVID-19 restrictions are fully lifted. Underlying the permanent change is the Bank’s aspiration to ensure colleagues attain the right balance between professional fulfilment and mental well-being. Two days of remote working a week has been found to be the most advantageous1 for employees to maintain a sense of connection with colleagues and the company and to achieve optimal performance.
The Bank’s announcement follows a review of work patterns, workspaces and workforce technology tools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Close to 60 per cent of Bank roles were assessed to be suited to working remotely, whether from home or a location other than the employee’s assigned workplace. UOB Malaysia’s new Remote Work options are in line with broader community sentiment where 90 per cent of people across Malaysia said they expected some form of flexible work arrangement2 to become more common in a post-pandemic world.
Mr Lai Tak Ming, Executive Director and Country Head of Human Resources, UOB Malaysia, said the pandemic has transformed the way people work in the future and that the concept of what constitutes a “workplace” has undergone a fundamental rethink.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted companies to make a profound shift from a traditional workplace model to almost fully-remote working, upending the way organisations and employees operate. Now as the economy begins to reopen and the country transitions into the endemic phase of COVID-19, we believe that the future work environment is a hybrid work model. The flexible working arrangements that we have introduced will provide our colleagues with more autonomy to choose how and where they work. A hybrid work model offers employees the best of both worlds as they have the option to work in the office when needed for face-to-face collaboration with their colleagues or to work conveniently at a remote location of their choice. It also enables employees to continue experiencing the camaraderie of office life which is critical for maintaining mental wellness, something that has been sorely missed during the long periods of lockdown.”
In addition to its Remote Work options, the Bank will continue to offer Flexi-2 which gives all employees an additional two hours a month off to attend to personal matters during the work day. Eligible employees will also be able to opt for flexible working hours, beginning their work day between 7:30am to 10:00am based on their preferred work styles.
UOB Malaysia’s Remote Work options guided by care, collaboration, and culture
UOB Malaysia took in feedback from its employees on the strains of having their homes turned into their offices during COVID-19. During the peak of COVID-19, while 85 per cent of them reported to be as effective while working from home, 15 per cent said they faced stress-inducing challenges3. These stresses included trying to balance family and professional commitments, lack of personal workspace at home, increased working hours from an ‘always on’ mentality and difficulty in nurturing teamwork and collaboration online.
“As the workforce returns to the office post-pandemic, we wanted to make sure that the mental well-being of our colleagues who choose to work remotely for two days in future are looked after as well. We have also enhanced our mental wellness programme to complement our new flexible working arrangements and to help our people remain engaged and connected with each other. At UOB Malaysia, we are committed to cultivating a caring workplace and workforce to help our people stay mentally resilient as they transition into the future of work while navigating the impact of the ongoing pandemic,” Mr Lai said.
The Bank’s recently enhanced mental wellness programme includes a series of educational talks, online training courses as well as a range of virtual activities that employees can participate in from developing mindfulness techniques and building mental resilience to learning how they can care better for colleagues who may be mentally distressed. The programme also continues to offer a dedicated care hotline for employees and their immediate family members who need to seek advice or emotional support from mental health professionals. Those who require further support can also claim for their treatments through flexCARE, UOB Malaysia’s wellness benefits programme.
1 According to Gartner’s Hybrid Workforce Model Webinar Poll on 30 July 2020. The results were published as part of Gartner’s study called Operationalizing Remote Work at Scale in the Hybrid Workforce Model, published on 30 September 2020.
2 Please see UOB news release: “UOB survey shows flexible work arrangements are essential for people to achieve work-life balance as part of the new norm”, 17 February 2021
3 According to 2020 UOB Employee Survey conducted among 26,000 UOB employees globally between April to June 2020.