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Asia CommentTaipan

Making the most of lockdowns

Flexible man practicing yoga at workplace

Since Covid-19 graced us with its presence, employers have been coming up with creative ways to satisfy employees working from home

But had it been me, my relaxation techniques would have been to organise virtual pub quizzes for my team that would go hand in hand with some drinking games. Any takers?

I’ve written plenty about the goings-on in Hong Kong during the worst of the recent Covid wave, and also said plenty about how many of my friends are coping with fresh lockdowns in China.

A big factor in me and many of my friends staying sane has been our afternoon drinks at Captain’s Bar, which enable us to cope with the 6pm closure of restaurants and bars.

But there is another big community of my friends who I tend to ignore in this column — the healthy lot, with an obsession for acai bowls and quinoa salads, hot yoga and Pilates. Well, dear readers, their way of surviving lockdowns is dramatically different from mine, helped along by the firms they work for.

For instance, one chap tells me that his employer, a Chinese financial group, started offering online fitness sessions with a rather attractive coach in a bid to take care of staff wellbeing. The first few Zoom sessions were naturally packed and proved incredibly popular. So much so that the firm even opened up the sessions to outsiders.

But then, things changed for the follow-up classes. The coach was replaced by two new instructors. And when the new class began, something was obviously wrong and attendees recoiled and started shifting awkwardly. The two new ‘instructors’ who had popped up on screen were co-heads of the department — a not so motivated pair who had been forced to do it by the higher-ups.

That story has a sad end, but firms do deserve kudos for their efforts to look after their personnel. Another company is offering regular online yoga sessions to get staff to slow down and find some work-life balance while staying home 24/7.

Some banks are even thinking of the parents who have to juggle working from home with taking care of their kids. The solution? Organising online classes and fun learning activities exclusively for the children of staff.

These ideas all sound grand, and certainly tick the boxes of millennial health-conscious bankers.

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