Saturday, 20 October 2012

Housecleaning now an office perk !

San Francisco: Phil Libin, chief executive of Evernote, turned to his wife last year and asked if she had suggestions for how the software company might improve the lives of its employees and their families. His wife, who also works at Evernote, didn’t miss a beat: housecleaning. Today, Evernote’s 250 employees — every full-time worker, from receptionist to top executive — have their homes cleaned twice a month, free. It is the latest innovation from Silicon Valley: the employee perk is moving from the office to the home. Facebook gives new parents $4,000 in spending money. Stanford School of Medicine is piloting a project to provide doctors with housecleaning and in-home dinner delivery. Genentech offers take-home dinners and helps employees find last-minute baby sitters when a child is too sick to go to school. These kinds of benefits are a departure from the upscale cafeteria meals, massages and other services intended to keep employees happy and productive while at work. And the goal is not just to reduce stress for employees, but for their families, too. If the companies succeed, the thinking goes, they will minimise distractions and sources of tension that can inhibit focus and creativity. 

Now that technology has allowed work to bleed into home life, it seems that companies are trying to address the impact of home life on work. There is, of course, the possibility that relieving people of chores at home will simply free them up to work more. But David Lewin, a compensation expert and management professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said he viewed the perks as part of a growing effort by American business to reward people with time and peace of mind instead of more traditional financial tools, like stock options and bonuses. 

At Deloitte, the consulting firm, employees can get a backup care worker if an aging parent or grandparent needs help. The company subsidises personal trainers and nutritionists, and offers round-the-clock counselling service for help with issues like marital strife and infertility. Deloitte executives, and other experts, said they believe that such benefits were likely to spread.

Hannah Valantine, a cardiologist, professor and associate dean at the Stanford School of Medicine, said the university’s experiment with helping out at home was part of a broader effort to support doctors, given their hyperkinetic pace of life. “If you’re coming home at the end of the day exhausted and you have a pile of cleaning to do, it’s the kind of things that leads rapidly to burnout, and burned-out physicians don’t give the best care,” Dr. Valantine said. “We’re trying to send a very strong message that the institution cares about you and about your life.” Some compensation experts argue these types of perks ultimately do little to attract employees and might obscure more fundamental problems at companies that have trouble retaining talent. So 18 months ago, Stanford hired a consulting firm called Jump Associates to better understand why so many academic doctors feel burned out. The company videotaped them from the time they woke up, through the workday and until they and their families went to sleep. In one video, a kidney specialist told a story that shocked the researchers: while she was on maternity leave, she bought a minivan to ferry the children of friends and neighbours to school and sports practices.

That way, the doctor explained, she would be able to ask for favours when she returned to work — and that, in theory, would enable her to juggle the dual demands of work and family.

Article Credits: Matt Richtel, NYT NEWS SERVICE. Times Of India Mumbai.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.