Leading the Hybrid Workplace

By Ahmed Wafi

As Malaysia slowly transitions into a state of endemic, Maybank pledges to never compromise on the safety of its people, ensuring business as usual wherever and whenever.

Many organisations look to be preparing their workforce to return to the office in 2022 but as Maybankers across the country have gotten used to the current ‘new’ normal, Maybank publicly announced that it will be resorting to a fully hybrid workplace starting November 2021 last year that will see staff members coming into the office on a rotational basis.

On 15 November 2021, some Maybankers stepped foot into the office for the first time after months of attending to their work from home (60% in office capacity) and were greeted with personalised Maybank goodies that included Maybank face masks, COVID test kits, antibacterial wipes, and hand sanitizers – as a personal touch to welcome employees back to the office.

Speaking exclusively to GRADUAN, Datuk Nora Manaf, Group Chief Human Capital Officer at Maybank, reiterates that a hybrid work arrangement is not something new to the organisation since it has implemented a flex workforce arrangement as early as 2013 – named Flexible Work Arrangement. “As a bank, falling under the category of essential services, we were permitted to continue our operations as usual but being responsible corporate citizens, we decided that we would not risk that. From a situation where 80 per cent of staff members were working in the office, we flipped that to 80 per cent working from home within a week.”

“We continue to make sure that we take of our people’s four elements of fitness which are mental, emotional, physical and performance (work) fitness. We run programmes every day to cater to the needs of our people’s fitness elements,” Datuk Nora explained.

The company maintained consistent performance throughout the pandemic as reflected in the business results that were announced earlier this year. This was in no small part thanks to the employee care provided by the organisation. Maybankers’ happiness at the organisation was reflected in the GRADUAN Brand Awards 2021 where Maybank was crowned Malaysia’s Most Preferred Employer.

A strong believer of the famous Winston Churchill quote “Never let a good crisis go to waste”, Datuk Nora and her team at Maybank were adamant on doing as much as they could to take full advantage of what is perceived to be a bad situation.

During this crisis, the charismatic HR Icon revealed the following silver linings:

  1. A hybrid workforce – Since the pandemic, Maybank has formalised their permanent hybrid work policy – Mobile Work Arrangement policy that provides flexibility to their employees on their preferred work arrangement, dubbing them the Mobile Workforce that has seen close to 5,000 Maybankers.

  2. Technology accelerated – Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other collaborative tools have been around for a long time but have only been utilised to its full extent now. Reiterating her admiration of technological advancements, Datuk Nora feels that despite the rampant digitalisation the world is seeing, we aren’t doing our jobs if digitalisation takes place at the expense of people’s jobs.

  3. People are reminded that we are connected – We’ve learnt that our decisions, be it small or large (like wearing a mask) have the potential to affect others.

While some Maybankers will be working from the office on a rotational basis, others who are working in more critical functions will continue to work fully from the office.

With organisations around the world instilling hybrid work arrangements, we’ve found that each model is unique to every company. For Maybank, its hybrid work proposition is the new experience of the way their people work, engage, collaborate, and live.

  • The Way we Work — Having a rotational work week ensures the best of both working worlds from home and in the office.
  • The Way we Engage — Engagement with communities such as customers, shareholders and other stakeholders will now be adjusted to follow through with different needs and wants through different channels. i.e., video calls, virtual chats etc.
  • The Way we Collaborate — Teams will schedule time for work collaborations without also forgetting the casual hangouts and timeouts with each other.
  • The Way we Live — For the Maybankers who will be working on-site again after such a long period of working from home, shifting to ‘new’ old routines, planning their commute to work, and organising their home commitments would be something that needs to be re- designed.

As Maybank continues to sustain a #HumanisingWorkplace, Maybank wishes to provide flexibility to work whenever and wherever its people are most productive. A hybrid work arrangement ensures better work-life integration as employees will have more time since commute times have been eliminated. This model also provides choice and flexibility as employees have the choice and flexibility on their work schedule and how they manage it. Lastly, it prioritises the safety and wellbeing of employees without compromising on services and practices for the community.

Will we be seeing more organisations follow in the footsteps of Maybank in implementing a hybrid workplace?

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