Situated at the junction of two great rivers in the vast Klang Valley is Kuala Lumpur, a name that literally means “muddy confluence.” Nowadays, it is a sprawling metropolis marked by soaring skyscrapers and surrounded by lush greenery. Pulsing with life and energy, it is more than just the capital of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur (KL) is at the heart of industry, commerce, finance, history, culture, and modernity in the country.
In 2014, a Randstad Workmonitor survey found that, like similar Asian countries, 95% of Malaysian employees were seeking an ideal work-life balance. It was a trend felt across the ASEAN region, in fact, so much so that the ASEAN Foundation organized a Work-Life Balance Project, hosting regional conferences to address inclusive, conducive workplace policies—Malaysia being one of the more vocal participants in the dialogues. This has indeed influenced changes in Kuala Lumpur’s work landscape. Most notably, in the same Randstad Workmonitor survey done just this year, it was reported that Malaysian employees, specifically millennials, no longer prioritized work-life balance, and favored regular office hours. This goes to show that in the quest for that elusive ideal, KL has progressively set the bar in terms of achieving work-life balance for its labor force. So what’s the secret to this bustling city’s harmonious existence?
A City That’s Built to Last
One of the more fascinating features of the cityscape is the proliferation of classic architecture. Preserved colonial buildings and reclaimed territories are spread out between glass-and-steel edifices. Sculpted facades and beautifully designed structures house all kinds of residential and commercial endeavors. Walking through the streets of KL, one can observe the intricate weaving of lingering history with fast-paced urbanization. Decorative spires and metallic crescent moons peek above rows of adobe manors. Industrial towers cast shadows over time-worn monuments, old world charm mirrored in sixty-storey megaliths. All the while, city-dwellers dart between arched passageways and roam the concrete sidewalks.
Considered one of the world’s most congested cities, KL is constantly brimming with the rush and buzz of development. It is a reflection of the capital’s goal-oriented values and population of consummate professionals. It describes the expansion of a state that was established on the very principles of innovation and industrialization.
Commuting around Kuala Lumpur, as in any metropolis, could rack up significant stress for on-the-go employees. But with short-term work spaces and serviced offices already located at train stations like KL Sentral, navigating the city’s hustle and bustle is made more convenient.
A Culture Rooted in Diversity
Sitting right across Merdeka Square, the historic site where Malaysia declared independence, is Panggung Bandaraya, a Mughal-inspired theater built back in 1904. Now, it is the setting for Mud, a shining musical performance that explores Kuala Lumpur’s history. More than a showcase of talent, humor, and creativity, it is a celebration of the industrious Malaysian spirit, a story of unity and resilience within an eclectic community. One thing that is apparent when in Malaysia, it is indeed a country of multiple origins and diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, giving its people a deep reverence for heritage and tradition. There is a premium on cultural values, identity, and integrity.
Having Fun and Being Active
Perhaps the reason work-life balance is so attainable in KL is that it is already such an integral part of everyday life. There exists a symbiosis between work and leisure, wherein productivity and career success are just as valuable as a robust personal life and social interaction. Malaysian employees continue to cite exercise as one of their top priorities, and admit that regular workouts improve their work performance and overall job satisfaction.
Besides outdoor gyms, indoor wall climbing, fitness centers, and sports complexes, there are tons of public swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, and stadiums to choose from. Some parks feature canoeing alongside futsal and bike circuits. Jogging trails could lead you through an al fresco aerobics class, flower gardens, playgrounds, and picnic tables. Alternative recreational activities like paint ball, laser tag, archery, or ice skating can be found across the different mega malls, and numerous amusement parks and water parks (Legoland, Sunway Lagoon, Genting Highlands, Berjaya Time Square, Hello Kitty Town, and more).
The Metaphorical Melting Pot
Once you’ve sweat up an appetite from all the outdoor activity or even the endless strolling through your favorite shopping mall, it would be highly recommended to indulge in another of Malaysia’s rich traditions: food. Although Penang is considered the nation’s foodie capital, KL does not disappoint with its banquet of various dining experiences—from the streets of Bukit Bintang to the posh high-rises of the central business district, from open air hawker centers and food carts to tea houses, noodle houses, and curry houses. Business centers like KLCC house many inspiring office spaces. After a long day crunching numbers behind cubicles, it’s just a matter of taking a casual stroll to the nearest food joint.
The rich array of colorful cuisines are all expertly executed with local flair. Signature dishes, whether Indian, Chinese, fusion, or whatnot—are fragrant and flavorful, dressed in variety, spiced with native herbs and condiments, garnished with sincerity, and served with a smile. Malaysians are proud of their food, and it would be a shame not to show your appreciation.
Forming a Habitat
This meeting and mixing of different cultures, influences, and people make Kuala Lumpur a unique locale, and yet endlessly inviting and hospitable. It’s a country where pristine nature remains uninterrupted by the trappings of modern civilization, making it a delightfully adaptable destination that has drawn plenty of enthusiastic individuals. Multinational corporations and enterprises are thrilled to learn of the various Chambers of Commerce and business associations ready to provide their support. With all the warmth and abundant convenience offered by KL, it’s no wonder so many people have relocated, and willingly called it home.
Ready to settle into the multicultural environment of Malaysia’s capital city? Log in to flyspaces.com to find the best co-working spaces and short-term offices in Kuala Lumpur.