Zühlke – Empowering Ideas

work-life-balance-blog-collage
Insights

Life outside the workplace: Making work-life balance part of the Zühlke culture

In today’s unpredictable and fast-paced business world, we have learned that it is no easy task to achieve work-life balance. As we grow increasingly connected through technology and social media, the line gets more blurred between separating work from our personal lives.

With more flexible and hybrid forms of work, it is also becoming more apparent to many that this shift can affect one’s productivity levels, quality of work, mental health, and workplace satisfaction.

Insight in brief

  • Understand how work-life balance plays a part in Zühlke's culture.
  • Learn how Zühlke is supporting employees to pursue personal and professional development at work, and also to lead fulfilling lives outside of work.
  • Discover how the unique diversity of nationalities contributed to a rich cultural exchange.

That is why it is important for us to make work-life balance a part of Zühlke's unique culture. We believe that everyone needs variety and respite to do their best work. We always emphasise the importance of intentional learning in everything we do and encourage our employees to lead fulfilling lives outside of work too – be it taking good care of mental wellness, staying connected with friends and family, and also enjoying hobbies and personal passions in everyday life.

From sourdough baking to cross-stitching, lockdown in Singapore meant a renewed focus on passions and hobbies that inspire. It also meant a focus on cultural exchanges that kept the social side of work blooming, albeit virtually.

As one of our fastest-growing offices, Zühlke in Singapore relies on engineering talent from other countries across the group to keep pace. So, with today’s globally distributed work model, what happens outside of work becomes just as important as the nine to five.

Creative inspiration happens anytime, everywhere

As a Great Place to Work certified company, 94% of our people say that they are encouraged to balance their work-life and their personal life. One form of it is in the adoption of the 80-20 rule where our teams are encouraged to allocate 80% of their work time on client projects, while the other 20% can be used on personal leave, internal projects, or training and development.


The system is based on trust and is a determined move away from micromanagement to bottom-up empowerment. Under the Zühlke Growth Mindset model, employees are empowered to manage their time and resources effectively, such as through the introduction of the “ARTE” principles on: Autonomy, Responsibility, Transparency, and Evaluation.


In our Singapore office, which boasts a diverse mix of over 20 nationalities and counting, our employees are making creative use of this learning and team development time with exciting activities.


Their interests inspired some of our most successful projects, such as Zühlke’s sticker competition, where employees were asked to design a branded sticker logo for laptops. Instead of commissioning official merchandise, we supported some of our most technical engineers to engage their creative side, which resulted in some unique artwork we’re proud to use.

Learning happens anytime, everywhere

Relaxing can come in the form of doing hobbies that we like, or sometimes in the form of social coding nights where engineers get together after work to explore new tech. For others, it may be enjoying a yoga class to wrap up the workday.


For one of our HR employees Clare, it meant teaching herself crocheting on YouTube and making her own clothes. While for Software Engineer Chester, it meant painting a watercolour of every meal he ate and sharing it on Instagram.


Our teams in the Singapore office also take pride in sharing our passions and hobbies, like organising group cycling adventures that has now become a mainstay of the office, a hobby inspired by other Zühlke colleagues. Singapore may not have the cycling climbs of Switzerland, but it has more than enough points of interest for a ride along, and it’s been a great way for people to explore more of the city.

Feasting on a new culture happens anytime, everywhere

With its multiracial population, melting pot of ethnic cultures, and diverse religious traditions, Singapore is a city that epitomises the beauty of multiculturalism. There are plenty of festivals and celebrations to share every year, such as the annual Mooncake festival, Dumpling festival, Christmas, Deepavali, Hari Raya, and more!


But the ultimate Singaporean local test? Trying out durians, a popular fruit in Asia that can be best described as a mix of distinctive aroma with notes of sweet fruitiness and savory soup-seasoning. It’s an acquired taste, to say the least, but also an adventurous and fun way to introduce an international team to local delicacies. There are only two reactions to the taste test: you either love it or can’t understand why anyone would go near it.


Either way, it gets people talking — and there’s nothing like this "king of fruits" to bring people together and get conversations going.


As we have more opportunities to travel and return to the office, we’re taking pride in doing work that matters, but also showing how much our people matter. A big part of that is encouraging them to do what they love, whether that’s being adventurous in trying something new or just painting a picture of it.



Meet our employees as they share a little more about their hobbies and outside of Zühlke:

Meet Mia

Hi! I'm Mia and I joined Zühlke as an Advanced Software Engineer in April 2021. On a normal working day, I spend most of my time implementing microservices using Java and learning DevOps.

What is your hobby?

I love Thursdays, not just because it's a day to Friday, but also because it's Underwater Rugby (UWR) day! UWR is an underwater team sport. During a match, two teams try to score a negatively buoyant ball into the opponents’ goal at the bottom of a swimming pool. Players use diving masks, snorkel, fins, and water polo caps. In Singapore, there is a local team named First Asian Team Underwater Rugby (FATUWR) which organises weekly training and just turned 7 years old in September this year.

Why is it important to pursue hobbies and passions outside of work, especially with today's hybrid work model?

As a programmer, I spend a lot of time sitting in front of the laptop, and this causes stiffness and back pains. When we all work from home due to Covid-19, we seldom take outdoor walks during coffee/lunch break. Therefore, to be able to have at least one intensive underwater training weekly is highly appreciated. Besides the benefits of full-body training and high adrenaline, a nice team dinner after the training not just satisfy your stomach but also fill your heart and bring people closer.

Mia UWR

Meet Chester

Hello! I’m Chester Liew from Ipoh, Malaysia. I’ve been staying in Singapore for more than 7 years. I’m a software engineer, foodie, and artist. I got a pen, I got a croissant. 


What is your hobby?

2D related art (Food Sketching, Urban Sketching, Digital Art, etc.)


Why is it important to pursue hobbies and passions outside of work, especially with today's hybrid work model?

It clears my mind when I’m drawing. There’s only one goal during the sketching session: Make this my next masterpiece.

Chester

Meet Yacine

My Name is Yacine and I'm a software engineer at Zühlke for 5 years now. Originally from Switzerland, I transferred to Singapore two years ago. I'm grateful for this opportunity, not only is it a great experience to work overseas but I also saw how our Singapore location grow significantly in this short time and met colleagues from all kinds of nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds.

While I'm first and foremost a software engineer, I'm extremely keen on the whole process of developing quality products and shipping them to the customer. That's how I also got into topics like DevOps and Agile methodologies.

What is your hobby? 

I clearly remember Lego being my favourite toy as a child. Countless hours of building, play, and re-building all sorts of things. As an adult, I rediscovered this joy again when I saw the Lego Saturn V rocket and bought it on a whim. Space exploration and astronomy is another thing I've been really into since being young, so this set really scratched both itches. From there, I began looking for more NASA-themed sets and also got into the star wars sets (while more fantastical, it seems like space is a must for me). I was also impressed by the detail of today's models by Lego and similar companies, they hardly compare to what I knew as a kid.

Why is it important to pursue hobbies and passions outside of work, especially with today's hybrid work model?

Building a model out of bricks, I think, brings some of the same enjoyment as coding, but it has a more haptic, tactile quality. Especially when combined with listening to podcasts, it can be quite a meditative experience for me. This managed to keep me sane during the last lockdown. :)

Yacine

Meet Yan Zhen

(and her doggo, Ollie)

My name is Yan Zhen, and I am the Regional People Operations Manager for Zühlke Asia. At work, I manage the employee journey from onboarding to offboarding and strive for every Zühlkee to have a positive employee experience throughout their lifecycle with us.


What is your hobby?

One of my most favourite hobbies definitely involves bringing Ollie for outdoor adventures and exploring different places in our sunny Singapore. We enjoy walks both in the nature and urban “jungles”, and also seeing the city sights.


Why is it important to pursue hobbies and passions outside of work, especially with today's hybrid work model?

During the working from home period, it is at times hard to find a balance between work and personal time. However, finding little pockets of time after work and during the weekends to bring Ollie out for a walk or outdoor adventure has really helped me relax and destress. I find the walks therapeutic, also seeing the pure joy and happiness on my dog’s face makes it hard not to turn any frown into a smile! 😊 Sometimes when I’m lucky, it is also during these walks that I have “Eureka” moments for work-related matters or ideas, and being outside, whilst walking Ollie and being mindful in the present moment can breathe fresh and new perspectives into both work and life.

Yan Zhen

Meet Melvin

Hello! I’m Melvin, a person who loves to eat spicy food, interested in all things tech, and a beginner mechanical keyboard enthusiast. During my downtime, I enjoy an ice-cold beer or a fine bottle of whisky.

What is your hobby? 

Cycling is one of my favourite hobbies!

Why is it important to pursue hobbies and passions outside of work, especially with today's hybrid work model?

Having a hobby outside of work is a way for us to have a break from the monotonous routine of working from home and offers an outlet to decompress, de-stress and take our mind off of work.

Being bounded by the chair at home all day, having a hobby like cycling enables me to have time away from the desk, provides the physical activity that I need, and helps me to feel mentally energised!

Melvin

Meet Clare

My name is Clare, and I am a tech recruiter and employer branding specialist at Zühlke Asia. I spend my day at work looking out for tech enthusiasts and helping to build a brand for Zühlke Singapore!

What is your hobby?

One of my most favourite hobbies is crocheting! I learned it off YouTube. 😊  After months of practice, I managed to make my own clothes! Once the lockdown is over, I will get to wear my makings to the office or even to the beach! The therapeutic time spent crocheting allows me to relax and take my mind off work and this helps me to have fresh new ideas for work later on!

Why is it important to pursue hobbies and passions outside of work, especially with today's hybrid work model?

There is always a time for work and a time to relax. "Me-time" is very important - especially in these difficult times where it seems all we can do is work. This is the best time to encourage ourselves and the people around us to chase their passion! I often look forward to crocheting and watching Netflix after work because it keeps me relaxed and not forgetting that I would be a step closer to having new clothes to wear.

Clare

Meet Amila

Hey there! I’m Amila and currently working as an Advanced Software Engineer in Zühlke, Singapore. I’m originally from Sri Lanka and moved to Singapore a little more than 2 years ago mainly focusing on the career advancement aspect. I'm also passionate about crafting and improving software on daily basis.


What is your hobby? 

A passion of mine is cooking. During this pandemic time, being at home gives me more time to improve my cooking skills. I’m a great follower of the different YouTube recipes and my wife is also there to support me behind the scenes. Surprisingly, one of my favorite food is homemade Sri Lankan String Hoppers (with spicy chicken curry, dhal curry and coconut sambol). 


Why is it important to pursue hobbies and passions outside of work, especially with today's hybrid work model?

As working from home is the new normal, physical separation between work and leisure time can easily get overlooked. Hence it’s always important to have at least a couple of fun activities in your life than ever before. These challenging times give us plenty of opportunities to start new hobbies or fun activities and think deeply about our interests. I think this could be the positive side of the pandemic. These make me relax my mind and hopefully boost up my energy levels and develop self-motivation skills.

Amila

Meet Nicolas

Hi everyone, I’m Nicolas from the Business Development team and have been in Zühlke for a year. At Zühlke, my daily tasks include building relationships with prospects and creating fun and interesting project opportunities together. Always with our engineers’ support to create innovative and non-obvious solutions. My focus is on the HealthTech industry.

What is your hobby?

In my free time, I play the bass guitar. I have been playing for around 10 years. Honestly, I started exploring the bass when I got bored of being forced to play the piano as a kid. I felt the bass was an instrument where I could musically express myself better. 

Why is it important to pursue hobbies and passions outside of work, especially with today's hybrid work model?

Taking short breaks to exercise and engage ourselves in our hobbies can energise us and reset our minds. In turn, that makes us more motivated to continue work after! 

Nicolas