Work-life balance is not a zero-sum game

Work-life balance provides for success, both for companies and their employees – and for joint Nordic events!

In hindsight. A high-ranking Singaporean official, four brilliant Nordic business cases and four highly competent ambassadors guided by a professor in organizational behaviour. Not to mention a service level beyond imagination. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, according to almost 90 PAX crowd attending the Nordic Ambassadors Luncheon on Work-Life Balance at the Four Seasons Hotel 2 October.

Nordic Ambassadors from the left Mr Niclas Kvarnström, Ms Anita Nergaard, Mr Dorte BEch Vizard, Mr Antti Vänskä together with Deputy Secretary Ms Jacqueline Poh and Professor Henrik Bresman

The joint organizers DABS , FBC, NBAS and Swedcham got great feedback from the participants that they were excited by the open-mindedness, competence and ease showed by Jacqueline Poh, Deputy Minister from Prime Minister’s office (‘call me Jackie’). She had studied the Nordic practices on work-life balance and is inspired to implement some measures learnt here in Singapore. As the Swedish ambassador to Singapore, H.E Nicklas Kvarnström, pointed out: Singapore only seeks inspiration from the best. That means that the Nordic countries are very good in the field of work-life balance.

And there was a lot to learn at this Luncheon. Mr Gustav Heiberg from Norsk Hydro accentuated the importance of leadership, leading by example, for good work-life balance. Mr Vasishtha Tandan from Maersk showed an extensive and systematic work-life balance & wellbeing program implemented in the company.  Mr Robert Radway revealed that Handelsbanken’s policy is to tie work-life balance to the bank’s strategic objectives, while Ms Minna Rouru from KONE pointed out the importance of that work-life balance is embedded in the company’s philosophy.

On a higher, political level, professor Henrik Bresman brought out the competence and wisdom from Jackie and the four excellences, ambassadors Nicklas Kvarnström from Sweden, Dorte Bech Vizard from Denmark, Antti Vänskä from Finland and Anita Nergaard from Norway. Factors as nature, culture, regulations, trust, and sisu were brought forward to explain how the Nordic countries have reached the level of work-life balance they are at now.

There was a lot of take-away for the participants, and one of the most significant ones is that work-life balance is not charity or a zero-sum game. A good work-life balance program creates more value for the company through more productive and not the least happy employees.

A big thanks to the above-mentioned contributors for making the Nordic Ambassadors’ Luncheon such a successful event. And also thanks to our sponsors, Nordea, Salling Search, Flokk and the VIP sponsors Astra Zeneca and Lofoten Arctic Water. The latter represented by the lovely mother-son couple Mable & Sam, who with their handout of tastefully designed bottles with Nordic water, symbolized the dynamic relations between Singapore and the Nordics.

Photo courtesy: Royal Norwegian Embassy to Singapore