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Work-life balance
Published on Friday, 19 Mar 2010
Susanna Lee
Vice-president and general manager, global merchant services, East Asia, American Express
Nita Law
Regional head of human resources, northeast Asia, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong)

Susanna Lee
Vice-president and general manager, global merchant services, East Asia, American Express

Health coverage Women's Interest Network (Win) is an organisation for our employees seeking to build a community that supports women in the workplace through idea sharing and networking forums. It was officially launched in Hong Kong in September 2006. The major objectives for Win are to improve work-life balance, especially for working women and working mums, and support professional development of women and enhance their engagement in the company.

Promote health Win organises different kinds of activities to promote work-life balance, such as workshops on stress management, healthy diet and women's health care. It also organises classes for other interests such as yoga and dance.

Work hours Employees are encouraged to leave on time at least once per week, and management should also walk the talk. Women employees can choose to work on a part-time or half-day basis, or flexible office hours for the next three to six months on their return from maternity leave. Working parents can take part in the flexible working hours programme when their children have to sit for exams.

Support for staff Win helps create an inclusive work environment so people are treated with respect and equality. It is also one of the employee programmes which helps build a motivated and engaged workforce. This explains why we were named Hewitt Associates' Best Employer in Hong Kong again in 2009. We also have engaged staff, who are motivated, to go above and beyond expectations. We believe an engaged workforce brings satisfaction and success to both employees and the company.


Nita Law
Regional head of human resources, northeast Asia, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong)

Health coverage Standard Chartered Hong Kong is committed to creating a great workplace for employees. We offer an extensive range of health coverage and promote work-life balance within the bank via various initiatives, including sports activities and paternity leave.

Promote health Programme Care is a staff-led initiative in which different committees are formed within the bank to organise different activities for our colleagues. The activities range from employee volunteering for sports and recreational activities. Standard Chartered has operated the Employee Assistance Programme since 1998. It provides our colleagues with professional personal counselling and consultation services. In addition, we offer  regular wellness programmes that help  our staff to enhance their sleeping quality and manage anxiety.

Work hours "Happy Fridays" is an initiative launched in 2008, which encourages all employees to enjoy their weekend with their families and for personal interests - by making the best effort to finish their work, complete all meetings by 5pm and leave on time on Fridays. We also have a flexible working arrangement policy in place, which allows a working pattern to suit individual circumstances and commitments, while continuing to meet the needs of the bank and our customers.

Support for staff Standard Chartered offers five days of paid paternity leave to male colleagues, enabling them to spend more time with their spouses and newborn babies or newly adopted children. We also allow flexibility, as the leave can be taken in whole or half days. It has received very good feedback from staff since the launch.