I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” On that note, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that there’s more to life than work. As cliché as it may sound, “work, life, balance” is something most aspire to achieve in their lives. Our general being—be it physical, emotional, mental, social is bent on how we live our daily life. As luck would have it, we spend much of our lives working, so what happens in and around the workplace is crucial for our productivity and wellness.
If you remember, Maxis kicked off a holistic well-being programme specially tailored for its employees, last year—#FitterFasterStronger. The program is in line with Maxis’ big transformation journey which began in 2014.
The key goal was to get Maxis back on track to being a high-performance company. With it came the “MaxisWay“—a high-performance culture based on its core values of being ‘positive,’ ‘passionate’ and ‘collaborative.’
So, the #FitterFasterStronger programme was to provide meaningful employee benefits, and to keep employees healthy, happy and fit. A healthy, happy employee means a more engaging, productive employee.
It thus became a platform for employees to interact and socialise with each other, outside of work. Holistic wellness being the principle goal, it meant employees improving their quality of life, and reducing the risk of diseases and injury.
The program has received rave reviews from its employees. A survey conducted to gauge the effectiveness of the program found that 90% of Maxis employees were very happy with the program and wanted it to continue.
Not only that, but there are also measurable results. An annual employee survey called Voice of Maxis (VOM) measures how engaged its employees are. In 2015, it was reported that Employee Engagement was the highest score ever in the company’s history.
Work, life, balance
The #FitterFasterStronger programme was designed to be flexible and to cover different aspects of employees’ lives. The programme focuses on five pillars—physical, emotional, social, community and career.
- Under Physical, employees get to sweat it out in Zumba, Yoga, Piloxing, Muay Thai, Boot Camp and Thai Chi.
- Emotional Wellness involves an hour of weekly meditation class.
- Social on the other hand gives employees a chance to hone their skills in musical instruments like ukulele and Cajon. To cater to requests by some employees, there’s even a Mandarin class. Additionally, there’s also photography, theatre, cooking classes, and a book club.
- It isn’t all about one’s own well-being, though. There’s also ‘giving back’ to the community. So under Community, there’s social work and environmental-friendly initiatives like upcycling and recycling.
- Career is where employees are encouraged to take up projects outside of their divisions/departments to expand their skill sets. This also encourages engagement and collaboration.
Throughout the year, employees also get to listen to various industry gurus and experts. For instance, there are financial talks that touch on how to invest and grow wealth; self-defense classes; tips on being safe on the road and how to maintain a car, and so forth.
Within the Social Circles initiative, exists a series called “Be a Master Chef.” The series began in May 2016, and it has received tremendous response from employees with numbers exceeding a hundred people just for the first two sessions. During each cooking session, 20 employees get to learn to cook new dishes, guided by expert chefs.
I got to experience what “Be a Master Chef” was, with a cooking class held at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus guided by professional pastry chef, Chef Karam.
Themed “Pies, pies, pies,” I joined 20 eager Maxis employees in learning how to make the best pies. The mission for the day was to make a Smoked Salmon Quiche, Chicken Pot Pie, and a Lemon Meringue Pie, with the addition of a pie crust made from scratch.
I’ll admit I love cooking and I’m super comfortable in the kitchen. However, I’ve never properly baked a pie before, although I’ve made quiches at home. Also, making pastry and pie crust from scratch looks daunting, or so I thought.
Chef Karam was a great teacher (he also baked us some delicious croissants for breakfast!) and it made learning and being around the kitchen an enjoyable experience. He also made it look so easy, much to our dismay!
Split into teams of four–we toiled, floured, chopped, baked, washed. While our pie crust didn’t turn out as well as it should have, the Chicken Pot Pie tasted fabulous, the Lemon Meringue was delish and the Smoked Salmon Quiche, perfect.
We all got to take our masterpieces home to enjoy with family and friends. What’s important though was that it was a great learning experience and that we got to work as a team and also taste the results afterward.
I’m a Master Chef, sort of
The awesome thing was that I put whatever I learned at the class to a real-world application the next day. I baked two chicken pot pies for my brother’s birthday bash and they turned out great.
There’s a Master Chef in me, somewhere, yet.
Thanks to Chef Karam for the knowledge and yummy croissants, and Maxis for giving me the opportunity to experience #FitterFasterStronger first-hand.