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Get a life: for Swire Properties and DBS Bank, music is one way to balance the workday


What’s a better way to spend your lunch hour? Swire Properties certainly has an answer. Its initiative PROJECT AFTER 6: Busking aims to show that office life is more than just work. Those who have passed the auditions play their music at Taikoo Place in September and October, while workers get to enjoy these performances during their lunch hours.

And for the first time, Swire Properties has a corporate partner, DBS Bank Hong Kong, for a PROJECT AFTER 6 programme. The partnership expresses the companies’ shared belief in good work-life balance and commitment to sustainable development.

“I think working life has changed a lot,” says Glendy Chu, Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications at DBS Bank (Hong Kong). “People are paying more attention to their quality of life nowadays, especially the younger workforce. So I would say that it is a necessity, a must, for organisations to make a greater effort to promote work-life balance in order to retain quality employees.”

DBS’ current motto and brand promise is ‘Live more, Bank less’, reflecting not just its attitude and its work culture but also what it envisions for customers. The Bank has released two songs, “Live more” and “Live life to the fullest”, dedicated to the premise of living more. Both songs are now available on major music platforms. “We want our customers to live fulfilling lives by spending less time on banking and more time on the people and things that they care about,” says Chu.

DBS, which has an office in Taikoo Place’s One Island East, has two busking acts in the PROJECT AFTER 6 programme. They are Gigi Wong and Gigi Ha, who will perform pop acts during September. The programme also gives performers the opportunity to jam with celebrity singers.

“We are very excited to have this lunch-time busking programme, as our talented employees will have the opportunity to showcase their talent to the wider public and also inspire people working nearby,” says Chu. DBS also holds its own internal talent show contest, DBS Got Talent, winning team in respective markets can join the final contest held in Singapore

Banking has a reputation for its long hours. “I think banking is no exception to the current trends of work-life balance,” Chu says. “Like all the large, responsible corporations, banks are making sure that there will be a good quality of life for their employees and for their staff.”

In addition to talent programmes such as PROJECT AFTER 6: Busking, companies such as Swire Properties and DBS are embracing active outings for employees ranging from sports-themed staff club, team hikes and gym workouts. Chu herself tries to achieve a healthy balance. “I try to not stay too long in the office - well, we all try. And I exercise to release stress. I like to go on hikes; my standard route is from Pok Fu Lam reservoir up to the Peak and back, and recently I picked up yoga.”

Chu says recognising what’s important to employees has influenced company policies. “The thing most employees care about is annual leave,” says Chu. She has enacted a birthday leave that entitles employees to one day off during their birthday month, while the ‘five and five’ policy encourages staff to leave the office at five o’clock on Friday, “so that they can spend quality time with whoever they treasure”.

Time off permitted for family matters are a welcome addition. “I think this is particularly meaningful because I remember when my daughter was young, I had to take my personal annual leave in order to accompany her to her first day of school. And now we have this pro-family leave day,” Chu says.

When considering employees’ well-being, Chu advises to “always put yourself in somebody else’s shoes, because different people have different personalities. Be more considerate and be empathetic”.

Click here now to find out all about the October lineup of PROJECT AFTER 6: Busking.

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