Work & Life Balance

by Florence on August 4, 2020

If you take the two words apart, work and life, you’ll get clear demarcations of what it means. Most conversations around work-life balance centres around time spent at work, physical space where work is conducted and home.

While both are valid, however, there hasn’t been enough talk about the financial element of work-life balance.

Take employee claims for example. What is a claim? Claims become necessary when an employee pays on behalf of the company. It’s an administrative task that has become second nature for most jobs. Some do it on the weekends when it’s less hectic (eating into personal time), or during regular office hours (eating into work productivity). The lucky few will have someone to do it for them, but many don’t’ have this luxury. If you think about it, wouldn’t any expense paid in advance on behalf of the company mean the employee is actually funding the company’s expense? If I’m using my personal funds to fund my company’s operations (interest-free too), wouldn’t this disrupt my work/life balance?

A few years ago, we noticed our staff claims were ridiculously high. After some digging, most of these claims were transportation claims to and from our office to customer sites. 

We believe it was not the best way to ask our staff to pay anything on behalf of the company out of pocket, even though we did reimburse them eventually. Additionally, we had 10 techs spending 4 hours each sticking their receipts on papers and filling claims sheets every month. That’s 40 hours of unproductive time spent on administrative work; 5 full working days.

So, we did what @StephenChia would call a “sanity check” on the entire process. Do we want our techies to spend first, claim later? Did we need to fill up manual forms and numb our fingers punching calculators to count and recount to ensure we got our numbers right? Do we want to continue wasting precious time on such menial administrative work?

The solution was quite simple and elegant. We used corporate versions of ride-hailing apps and applied for a corporate credit card. (No, this is not a paid ad nor am I trying to advertise for any service). Here’s how it helped:

  1. A ride takes you from point A to point B without driving, means you still can take calls safely or jot notes while in the ride (some may call this work) 
  2. You don’t have to spend extra time looking for parking at the destination or find your car when you’re leaving 
  3. You don’t have to spend your own money on petrol/toll/parking/car maintenance 
  4. You spend less time traveling overall 
  5. You don’t have to do any expense/travel claims because it’s charged to the corporate credit card.  
  6. At the end of the month, a bill comes for the credit card usage and finance just pays out once, instead of processing and paying to every individual claim. 

  7. The techies don’t have to spend hours sticking their receipts and filling out forms and getting supervisor approvals 
  8. Reduced pilferage as less fraud can occur as each ride is logged (in other words, I know exactly where and when everyone went) 
  9. Techies can even gain loyalty points for their travels which they can use personally.

Sure, there are still some claims, which we digitized and automated (ask me how, if you’re interested, we rolled this out for free to our customers), but overall claims dropped a whopping 85%. The staff has more money in their pockets and more time in their hands. Everyone wins.

That’s work/life balance for you right there.

Topics: reopening, new discovery, challenging, initial steps, new business, collaboration, technology