29 October 2021
Framed around the effects of fast-paced change and related challenges on “live-work-play” trends, Active Health’s latest series of webinars feature key industry experts and thought leaders as they navigate trending topics to harness health and wellness in building a high performing individual. This webinar, part of a monthly series, focused on play and energy management. The engaging panel discussion featured Mr Stephan Veyret, CEO of Decathlon Singapore, Dr Chiang Hock Woon, Deputy CEO of Sport Singapore and Mr Colin Low Hsien Yang, CEO of Singapore Land Authority. During the session, the panellists spoke about how to manage your energy for better performances.
Leadership is the art of harnessing energy and driving change in their respective organisations. At Decathlon, Mr Veyret summarises that pace-setting is achieved through the combination of identifying and recruiting individuals who resonate with the organisation’s values, empowering employees to own their projects, and acknowledging the smallest successes. The concept of energising the workplace is further reinforced by monthly individual reviews, where employees’ pleasures (and conversely, displeasures) are at the forefront of the discussion. Mr Veyret declared that they “don’t recruit people, but invest in people; and when you invest in people, you care about a lot of different things.” Responsibility is fostered through the concept of “I own my own business”- when one takes ownership and does not merely perform assigned tasks, he/she tends to put more energy and engagement into the endeavour. Likewise, celebrating victories together is crucial to help know each other better and cement relationships.
Dr Chiang concurred with the aforementioned values, highlighting the overall wellness of the employees, as well as the significant contribution that their vitality and energy levels provide to the company. He mentioned that people he had spoken to unanimously agreed that employee wellness should be a priority.
This being said, several companies are not set up in a way to facilitate employee wellbeing to be a priority itself. He cited the general approach of outsourcing the satisfaction of employee wellness through the provision of gym memberships with the expectation of employees to exercise on their own accord.
Dr Chiang urged the audience to rethink the concept of setting pace and how that should be incorporated into one’s organizational strategy. He noted that over recent years, the domains of life, work, and leisure have started to intertwine. Citing research data, he illustrated how working hours have purportedly decreased globally over the years, yet the reverse held true in Singapore! Furthermore, he emphasised the importance of sleep and the neurological impact of sleep deprivation, which should be a call for more conversations to promote employees’ wellbeing.
As Dr Chiang posited, sleep is a key factor in energy management. “At Active Health, we try to look at it from this concept of live, work, and leisure, but we can’t stop there. The fact that we are not getting the dividends would suggest that perhaps the way we look at it needs to change. And we should probably look at it from an energy management standpoint. In that case, it becomes apparent to us that sleep is very important as part of the recovery (process). The food we eat is also very important. Even if you want to play - there are some activities that enable us to achieve active recovery. All of these are important, and these are what we are trying to communicate to our community and Singaporeans at large.”
Agreeing with Dr Chiang, Mr Colin light-heartedly commented that he was similarly guilty of being sleep deprived. He shared his observations that the ongoing pandemic had similarly impacted the civil service, increasing workload by two or even threefold. He concurred with Mr Veyret about the importance of celebrating victories and making the staff feel appreciated. At the organizational level, get-together activities like National Day allow people to depart from their usual siloed work mentality and enjoy the togetherness as an organization and participate in the big and small successes.
On a personal level, Mr Colin has made efforts to reach out to his staff through tea sessions on a weekly basis. These sessions do not revolve around work but focused more on the interesting aspects of the employees as an individual. Mr Colin believed that, as leaders, they have the responsibility to set the pace, tone, and culture. He emphasized the need to distance away from “bad busy”- a term he described as unnecessary work with minimal displacement value which ultimately yields little impact on the ground.
The discussion also revolved around how HR policies might look as employee wellbeing become increasingly important in organisations. . Dr Chiang opined that “when we have an HR policy, a large part of the policy is trying to govern within a resource constraint. But progressively, I think we need to move the HR policy to really focus on the staff. Today, we have HR policies that are much like an ala carte menu, ranging from dental subsidies to hospitalization. But in the current context, if our staff would need to work from home, they would require a certain adjustment to the policy to fit them better.”
Mr Colin added that while policies might be rigid, the ultimatum is likely to be workplace culture. He explained that a company might have the best HR benefits, but employees will not be incentivised to stay on if the culture is toxic. “A lot of times, the best ideas come from the ground. The reality is that those who make these suggestions may be the more junior additions to the team, but they are more creative, and not ring-fenced by all these limitations.” This is where real ideas and solutions are generated.
He asserted that “if it is a culture for open sharing, where people suggest things, execute things, make mistakes, where it is ok to fail, so to speak, learn from your lessons, then I think you’d have less of an issue. But if it is a culture where people are very calculative, (and) try to decide whether the first step brings me to a second or successive step, that’s where you get an unhealthy culture and issues of trust arise.”
Individuals who are interested in finding out how they can start their health and wellness journey with Active Health can sign up for a fitness and health assessment or interactive workshop. Here, one can learn how to move, eat, and rest from Active Health Coaches who are allied health professionals at Active Health Labs located island-wide for preventive healthcare and exercise advisory. Designed to enable Singaporeans to live life to the fullest, Active Health is powered by sport science and principles from the Exercise is Medicine©, a global initiative by the American College of Sports Medicine, around the four health and wellness domains of physical activity, nutrition, sleep and screen time management.
➤ Read More:
- Movement and Exercise is Medicine
- Movement, Exercise, and Health Coaching
- Active Ageing, Healthy Districts
- Self-Care and Ageing Well
- Play & Energy Management