"Time for money" - This has been the exchange between employers and employees for as long as we can remember. We are noticing however that successful business is largely tied to engaged and driven employees, and we might be seeing a shift in our society's idea of the workplace as a result. The United States has always had longer work day and work week compared to the rest of the world. We take less vacation days, give less time for maternity leave, and have more or less made our work our life. However, we might finally be taking a step in the direction of the rest of the world. Employers are noticing that physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness at work induces quality work and loyalty, and that no amount of money can make up a deficit in any of these areas.
A recent gallop poll found that 2/3 of employees around the world feel fatigued and disengaged at work and company's are starting to recognize that business is hurting as well. Google and Facebook were pioneers in changing our idea of the workplace by introducing decked out lounge areas, free meals, full service gym/pool, and "creative" rooms with instruments, video games, more tech toys than a kid could ask for. However, more traditional workplaces are taking a step in that direction as well. Goldman Sachs announced earlier this week that junior bankers would be kept out of the office on Saturdays. This comes as welcome news for a lot of us that'll be entering the workforce in the near future, and other company's are following suit. Former Cambell Soup Company chief Douglas Conant hand wrote 30,000 thank you notes to employees in his 11 years at the corporation, and always saw engagement rise as a result. This personal touch let his employees know that he was invested in their success and in his words "made sure they didn't feel like cogs in a wheel". While he might not have reduced their work load, he catered to their emotional and mental needs by showing his appreciation for their work and holding a sincere interest in their well being.
Who knows if these realizations will lead to long-term change about our idea of work-life balance or the work environment itself. But company's are seeing the value in fostering an engaging and collaborative work environment, and that it starts with ensuring employee wellness in the office.