Women and wellness
March and May are two months of the year when women, especially mothers, are honored and celebrated. We cornered a group of strong J&J Philippines executives and asked for their insights on women and wellness.
“Women are natural caregivers and decision-makers, and I take it to heart that I am responsible for ensuring that my family’s health and well-being are always at its best,” said J&J Philippines head of technology Therence “Tet” Lim. “It’s important to expand this further to our communities to ensure that they can act as a strong support system, so that women can feel more assured that their families are healthy in all aspects. Empowering women to get involved in the health and wellbeing of families is crucial to the success of elevating the health and well-being of all families in the Philippines.”
Below are more excerpts from our conversation:
The Philippine STAR: How do you personally balance your life? How do you become productive and nurture your wellness at the same time?
Badette Arugay, finance director: Work-life balance is very personal, and its definition can vary from person to person and change in time. At the moment, it’s about accepting that there is no perfect balance and that there are highs and lows. Some days, I might spend more time and effort on work, while other days I might focus on pursuing other interests. Balance is not defined by the hours spent on accomplishing something, but is more about being able to do different things that energize and nourish us. The way I try to achieve this is through a ruthless prioritization by assessing what is really urgent and impactful; making a conscious effort to switch off; and, after a recent health scare, carefully listening to my body if I need to decompress and recharge. Lastly, being flexible in what and how I do things with clear boundaries. Achieving a comfortable work-life balance takes deliberate and intentional thought, which I wish I learned early on in my career.
Anna Ysabel Ongpin, communications and public affairs leader: I’m a firm believer in work-life integration. It’s not about just balancing it, but ensuring that life and work integrate seamlessly, so one can live life to the fullest. As a mother of three boys, I have my hands full, so I make sure that I’m able to prioritize their needs by carving out special time for each one of them, then integrating that with my responsibilities at work. Beyond this, I also make sure that I’m able to spend time on my hobbies, and maintaining a healthy relationship with my friends.
Arlene Juliano, supply chain director: I make sure I carve out time for myself and what brings me energy (physically, spiritually and mentally) to make sure I am able to bring my best self to work. I start my day with prayer and meditation to keep me grounded. I also spend time for exercise (I am an avid runner and run five days a week) to make sure I keep myself fit and healthy. Most of all, as a mother and wife, I make sure I am present for my family’s important moments.
How do you adopt the same personal strategies in promoting wellness in your home?
Rezel Aquino, marketing director: I make sure that I lead by example and encourage healthy habits and practices that they can take with them as they grow and discover more about themselves. Schoolwork can be very demanding for the children, so I encourage them to move and to pursue personal interests like music, writing, movie critiquing and even crafts.
Tet Lim: I have always believed that one cannot really separate work from personal life, so it is important that the company you work for shares the same values as you do. J&J’s impact of promoting overall wellness also extends to our families. I have come to realize that everything that J&J advocates for in the workplace is something each of us can take home and implement in our own unique ways, as not one household is ever the same.
Bianca Wong, legal director: Fortunately and unfortunately, I’m very meticulous with details. In a way, this has helped me track my family’s health and wellness needs. No matter how busy my day is, I pay close attention to my family’s meals, schedules and activities, and overall, just try to make sure we are thriving in a healthy environment in the most efficient way possible.
What are the three best practices your company possesses that promote wellness for your workforce?
Aquino: Our credo captures it perfectly: “We must support the health and wellbeing of our employees and help them fulfill their family and other personal responsibilities.” I am so proud to say that J&J lives this out, and it’s not just fancy writing on the walls. There are numerous programs and facilities that support this, which include the daycare and breastfeeding center that has been around since I gave birth to my son 21 years ago, the Summer Compressed Workweek Program that supports parents spending more time with their children who are home during the summer, and the gym and tennis court within the campus that encourages employees to get moving.
Lim: The best practices that have been useful to me are the flexible work time to ensure we are able to find balance between work and family commitments; Future of Work program that gives us two days to work from home, which helps us be physically present at home while delivering results at work; the Health & Wellbeing Programs (global exercise reimbursement, healthy movement, healthy mind, healthy eating) that supports all aspects of our health.
Wong: J&J’s programs and initiatives have been incremental to all of us, specifically how it is able to address our ever-changing needs and responsibilities both at work and in the household. In order of preference, for me the top three would be: understanding of family flexibility; celebration of inclusion and diversity; and J&J’s strict adherence to its credo across all countries, cultures and ways of working.
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