Let’s start with a short quiz.
True or false: US businesses owe $224 billion in unused vacation time.1
True or false: Working 11-hour days or longer increases your chances of developing heart disease by 67% over those who work 7- or 8-hour days.2
True or false: Individuals who work more than 55 hours a week have lower productivity levels.3
If you answered true for all three questions, you’re right! In today’s economy, most of us find ourselves overworked as organizations reduce benefits and put the kibosh on raises.
Others, however, work for companies that value employee health and wellness. The December 15, 2015, issue of Fortune Magazine highlights a few standout organizations where work-life balance is serious business.
Denver-based software company FullContact specializes in contact management software. In addition to company stock options, employees enjoy 100% paid health, dental and vision care for the employee and family; free bus and light rail passes; parking stipends (for those who don’t live near bus or rail lines); one month a year to work remotely from any location in the world—with lodging and travel paid by the company; and paid holidays and vacation.
About that vacation. FullContact requires employees to take at least three weeks off every year. “There is a catch. You must be off the grid, no emails, no calling work, absolutely no work.”
Lindon, Utah–based BambooHR has a philosophy: “Do great work. Then go home. Work stays at work.” Their “no workaholics” policy requires that every employee leave the office by 5 pm. And no employee may work more than 40 hours a week. Benefits include three weeks off, 11 paid holidays, health insurance and more.
Many of us will never work for a company that provides free lunch and dinner (Google); on-site gyms and free Taylor Swift concerts (Yahoo); on-site massage services and pet insurance (Scripps Health); concierge services to pick up your groceries or change the oil in your car (SC Johnson and Son); three to six months of partially paid time to do volunteer work (Deloitte); or professional dress clothing advances (Umpqua Bank).
You might, though, work for an organization that offers benefits promoting employee work-life balance. If so, the benefits are probably quite evident to you!
If you are a leader, consider how you might implement new goals for 2016:
- Help your employees take advantage of accrued vacation time.
- Reduce employee risks of developing heart disease by keeping their workdays to eight hours.
- Ensure maximum productivity of employees by reducing demands beyond a 40-hour week.
Your employees will thank you. Their families will thank you. And your company will retain employees who are engaged, productive, creative and healthy. Gee—wouldn’t that help you meet your strategic goals!
- Oxford Economics analysis based on SEC filings for 114 companies (2015).
- University College London study (2011).
- Study conducted by Stanford University’s John Pencavel (2014).