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What shapes you, shapes us – Macquarie’s approach to flexible working

Working flexibly means that Andrea Chan is able to attend her children’s school events and be involved in their education. A Division Director in Macquarie’s Commodities and Global Markets team based in the Hong Kong office, Andrea says being able to work flexibly allows her to be present and “does away with a lot of guilt and distraction”.

Recognising that flexible working means different things to different people, Macquarie’s approach is to empower its staff to manage their professional commitments to suit their own personal situation, and equips its people managers to lead a flexible workforce. For Andrea, that means a four day work week, having Fridays off but says she is flexible with her days and changes it based on business and team needs.

In addition to spending more time with her children, Andrea uses her flexibility to volunteer, running better education programs in schools for an NGO.

Macquarie recognises that flexibility is a key enabler of productivity and engagement and is committed to providing a flexible workplace that supports its people to reach their full potential.

Recognising that not all financial institutions offer flexible work arrangements, Andrea says she approached her manager “gingerly, but hopefully” when discussing her need for flexibility but was met with a positive response. Understanding what she needs to achieve, Andrea manages her deliverables regardless of which days she is in the office and balances family life and volunteering whilst holding her senior position at Macquarie.

Having more time to spend with her two young children as well as giving back to the community, Andrea says that she is very thankful that both her manager and Macquarie support her flexible work arrangement. This view is supported by Biju Joseph Jacob in Macquarie’s Singapore office.

When Biju approached his manager about working flexibly so he could further his study, he was met with a “very positive response”. Going back to university to study a Master’s degree in Management and to pursue the Chartered Financial Analyst exams meant that Biju would need to attend morning classes once a week. He wanted to keep his fulltime workload, so after a conversation with his manager who Biju says was “extremely supportive of this initiative”, they worked out a personalised flexible working arrangement that allowed him to attend classes and sit his exams without reducing his work hours.

Biju is a senior manager and sits within Macquarie’s Technology team, supporting the Equity Derivatives and Trading business as a software developer. Once a week he comes in to the office in the afternoon and works late into the evening. The arrangement, which has been in place for the past two years, means that he can both maintain his fulltime work and attend his classes.

“The flexible working policy has enabled me to complete my Master’s degree and to pursue the Chartered Financial Analyst exams. These studies have not only helped me personally by equipping me with up-to-date technological, financial and management skills, but has also motivated me to contribute more back to the firm,” Biju said.

“Flexible working does not come at the cost of one’s career growth. Instead it provides a mechanism for an employee to perform at their peak. The ability for me to bring back modern academic concepts to use at work has been very valuable.”

As technology continues to evolve to allow greater freedom to perform work from different locations and in different ways, Biju says that he was able to utilise Macquarie’s flexible-working technology to stay connected, regardless of where he was.

Set to graduate this month, Biju says he has already “taken on additional responsibility, making my role more aligned with my newly acquired skillset.”

Andrea and Biju’s stories aren’t unique at Macquarie, with employees working flexibly for many years in different ways across their offices globally. To further promote flexibility, Macquarie employees across Asia are celebrating #flexweek, an initiative introduced to further encourage workplace flexibility and to promote the range of options available to its employees.

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