In a changing business climate it is very interesting to see what different companies are doing to retain talent and to help relieve some of the work-life stress that impacts the performance of this talent.  Take a look at this piece that talks about some very interesting things taking place in Silicon Valley, where the competition for workers is intense.  I think it is interesting that they talk about work-life integration as perhaps a more realistic goal than work-life balance.

Note some of their creative ideas and how they go well beyond just giving more financial rewards to employees.  I love the quote in the piece that says they are looking for more bang for the non-buck.  The highlight of the bunch might be providing housekeeping services a couple times a month for all employees.   Companies are also providing help with carryout meals for dinner and babysitting services should a child need to stay home from school.  There are times when extra money is given but it might be for a very specific purpose such as helping out with vacation expenses or for just after a child is born.  In all of the above cases there is a sense of caring that goes beyond just the financial part of the compensation.  There is a recognition that personal sacrifices are being made to work for a company and the company is trying to offset these sacrifices by making things somewhat easier outside of work.

What does all this mean for those who may work outside of Silicon Valley and who may be working for a more traditional compensation scheme?  First it is critical to recognize the toll the job may be having on your personal life.  These non-traditional perks are being given because companies recognize that there are obvious things that seem to stand at the intersection of life and work.  It is imperative that time be dedicated to those activities that make up normal life outside of work.  Boundaries need to be placed on work time so that both personal and work lives don’t fall apart.

Keep in mind where your actions may be impacting others and make changes.  They will truly be appreciated.  Before planning a national sales meeting or a launch meeting think of the toll that places on reps and their families, especially those who do not have overnight child care in place.  Could launches be handled in some other way?  Perhaps you could buy everyone a new tv and stream the meeting from headquarters into their homes.  Think of the huge amount of money that would be saved and how much the reps would appreciate the concern.  The same could be said for your physician customers.  Every minute they spend with your company or representatives either in the office or at an educational event takes time away from their personal lives.  Obviously, many have stopped seeing reps and attending educational events because of this huge problem.  What could be done differently to show your customers you recognize this concern?  Let me give you a clue.  The goal may be to deliver more quality information in a more efficient way rather than striving for more time with the physician.

The bottom line is that this work-life thing is a real issue that hovers over everybody.  When you read the piece on the Silicon Valley perks what were your first thoughts about the companies and their leaders?  I bet you thought about how cutting edge they are in their thinking and what a wonderful place that would be to work, right?  Think about getting and giving perks that really matter.

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