Sustaining productivity — the 6-hour work day

by Malaysian Institute of Management

An interview with Krishnan Nachiappen, Chartered Accountant, Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM):

Personal Background

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career journey so far

I graduated from University of Malaya with a Bachelor of Accounting degree in 1992. After graduating, I worked for an audit firm for nine years continuously, before starting out on my own.

Currently, I am the managing partner of NK Associates, a firm with three partners. The firm was started in the year 2000 and has grown from a staff size of two to the present staff size of about 55. Apart from its present headquarters in Puchong, Selangor, the rm also has three branches — in Ipoh, Sitiawan and Johor Baru.

I am also a member of the following professional bodies:

• MIM;

• Malaysian Institute of Accountants;

• Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Australia;

• Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, UK;

• Chartered Institute of Taxation, Malaysia.

What attracted you to become a member of MiM?

I am of the opinion that MIM plays a significant role in the advancement of management practice locally and regionally.

Through MIM membership, I can participate more actively in their initiatives and at the same time utilise the resources available to further enhance my knowledge and management skills.

Disruptive Thinking

You are a big proponent of a six-hour working day. why?

To sustain productivity in the long run, which is the key to any organisation’s success, we have to work within parameters that don’t overburden people and maintain balanced stress levels. Various researches have shown that happy people with less stress tend to produce quality results.

With a six-hour work arrangement, we can significantly improve on resource planning, staff morale and health, and asset optimisation.

We can also resolve various issues such as avoiding traffic jams, providing time for childcare to young working mothers, family time, attending classes to enhance knowledge, etc, without disrupting their roles and obligations to the organisation.

As a whole, it provides a holistic approach towards integrating the work-leisure aspirations of the current generation in an organisation.

This idea is still far from mainstream thinking in corporate Malaysia. how have your employees reacted to it?

Even though it was challenging at the beginning when we started in 2015, upon seeing the result in their performance by themselves and the management being transparent in its implementation with appropriate processes and tools, we have almost achieved a 95% acceptance level with a significant improvement in staff retention levels.

Do you see this concept working in all areas of industry?

Yes, it is possible to most sectors or industries. We need to customise and fine-tune the industry specifics parameters which relate to operations and people’s functions.

Why do you think it has yet to catch on among mainstream employers?

I believe the main reason could be the lack of information and awareness on the possibilities and benefits of this initiative. They are still unsure whether it’s a zero sum game with winner-loser or a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

What advice do you have for an employer considering such a change?

The initiatives need to be discussed through active participation from all levels in the organisation in order to arrive at a collective decision, which binds everyone.

It should be driven by the needs of all the stakeholders, which is also the organisation’s goal and not by specific goal of certain interest group.

General

Which famous leader, current or historical that you most admire and why?

I admire Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes of AirAsia Bhd who brought the air travel experience to an average person, who could only afford to have a glance of an aeroplane from the glass windows of the airport. He made air travel affordable and that made a difference in people’s lives.

His model also changed the way the air travel industry works and service their customers.

Do you have a personal motto that you live by?

Work diligently and think out of the box; The “Impossible” today will become “Possible” tomorrow.

What tips or advice would you give to a young manager just starting out?

Keep your mind open and read something every day. Be fair, transparent and empower the people below you, they will ensure your success in achieving your goal. Practice ‘Ubuntu’ in every aspect of management — I am because of who we all are.

  • This article was originally published in Asian Association of Management Organisations (AAMO) newsletter (Vol 2 Issue 4). AAMO can be accessed at www.aamo.net.