Recharge your battery with PUMA Flex

Cathy Hur - Merchandising Manager, Local Production at PUMA Korea

Many smartphone users worry about running out of battery power. My phone battery only lasts for 6 hours at the most. They say that in order to prolong battery life, we should not repeatedly let the battery run down till 0% but recharge it before it goes under 30%. And yet, time and time again, I use up battery until it has 0% and turns itself off. This habit over time has made my battery life shorter and shorter.

In my observation it seems to be same with human energy. When I was starting out at other company, I had no idea how to balance my work and life. I only focused on achieving my tasks within the deadline and always being at my desk. I did nothing but work until everything was complete. As a result I was always exhausted and always felt like “my battery” was running low. Often I didn't have enough energy to do all things that need to be done in life outside the office - simple things like shopping and paying bills, exercising, cleaning, educating myself about something new or even socializing.

The reason is that in Korea flexibility in the work place is unusual. There is a great deal of pressure to focus on tasks and deadlines and there is not a lot of focus on a balance between work and outside life. Because hierarchy is important in our office culture people sometimes feel uncomfortable leaving before the boss leaves. This makes it difficult to plan extra-curricular activities for after work hours.

In Korea most banks are open only from 9am-4pm. That means that working people don’t have time to get the odds and ends of life completed before 4pm without using a day off from work. So often people will take a day off from working just to get normal things accomplished. But it’s different at PUMA Korea.

Now at PUMA Korea it is becoming the norm that as long as each person is present between the hours of 10am and 4pm, and meets the required number of monthly hours, we are able to plan the daily schedule as needed as we are using the flexible working hour system.  

It has allowed me work out with a personal trainer at a nearby gym from 8am to 9am before going to work. It has given me much more than just a slimmer body. Now I’m able to channel my work stress into work energy. This keeps me from burning-out. Instead of a vicious cycle of exhaustion, I now experience growth along with a mind that is energized and free to start the day. This benefits the company as well because I am in better mental condition to contribute on the job. I’ve enjoyed the gym so much that I decided to become a personal trainer myself.

All this is possible because PUMA has an encouraging atmosphere around sports.

Manager Cathy Hur exercising

This kind of flexibility runs throughout the PUMA Korea office and applies to everyone’s needs.

People with families have time to get the kids to school and people who just need a little more sleep are also able to take advantage of a flexible working hour system. These are luxuries not many companies in Korea offer.

It's a whole new way of looking at work and life, the way they mix together and enhance each other. My advice to all professionals is to figure out how a work/life balance would benefit you, taking advantage of the flex-time and the wellness activities that are offered or finding time to create your own. This mental and physical “cross training” can only allow you to enjoy your life and make you more productive. Besides — it’s beneficial to all of us: our friends, our families and the businesses that employ us.