Here’s the Dirty Little Secret…

…No one is actually working an 8-hour work day!

feet on deskIf you are reading this article, it’s more than likely between the hours of 9-5 and you are sitting at your desk (which is owned by the company), reading this on your computer (which the company provides) and taking a “break” from your “demanding” work (which the company pays you to do). From the outside, you look busy because your eyes are aimed at the screen. This should make your manager happy. The reality is that this virtual “smoke break” will not be just the standard 15-minute break from your workload. Instead, it will morph into 2.09 hours per 8-hour workday, not including your lunch break or allocated break time, according to American Online and Survey.com [1] That’s 2.09 hours PER employee. Now multiply that by the number of employees you see in your immediate eyesight and you realize that there is a whole lot of nothing being done each day. The research by American Online and Survey.com has shined a bright light on the fact that employees are wasting twice as much time as their employers think they are wasting. And to really add salt to the employer’s wounds, Salary.com ran the numbers and found over $750 Billion (yes, with a B!) is spent on salaries (translation= compensation for actual work) for work that was never performed. Who’s pulling a fast one on whom?

Now before the employees start muzzling me for exposing the dirty little secret, it’s important to take a look at why they are spending so much time sitting at their desks without actually producing any relevant work for their employers. Given the current economic climate, it’s easy to justify the feeling of burnout most employees are experiencing and the overwhelming inability to manage work / life balance.

53% of employees would opt for a personal assistant rather than a personal trainer. [2]

Only 14% of Americans take two weeks or more at a time for vacation. The average American spends more time in the bathroom than on vacation. [3]

88% of employees say they have a hard time juggling work and life. [4]

70% of working fathers and working mothers report they don’t have enough time for their children. [5]

64% of Americans report that time pressures on working families are getting worse, not better. [6]

Work is inevitable but does it mean we have to give up our personal life for the sake of a paycheck? Not at all. It just means that employers should recognize that work / life balance is a huge motivator for employees. So if you can’t beat ‘em, why not join ‘em? A corporate concierge program can bring sanity to an otherwise scattered workplace filled with unsuspecting managers overseeing unproductive workers.

Texas Instruments is a perfect example of a company that understands happy, stress-free employees make for profitable champions for the business. According to the Texas Instruments website, in 2010, their concierge program served more than 2,900 U.S. employees and fulfilled more than 8,000 requests. They also expanded on-site services, providing 1,276 employees an opportunity to save a trip away from the work site during business hours. [7]

Implementing a corporate concierge program equates to:

  • The ability to retain and recruit quality talent
  • A far more productive and engaged workforce
  • A reduction in absenteeism
  • A lower level of stress within the workplace

Corporate concierge programs can be operated either virtually, with employees having access to the concierge through email or a dedicated website, or on-site, where employees can interact with the concierge in a face-to-face engagement. The concierge is retained to provide a solution to the employee’s work/life balance problem.

Frequent requests include:

  • travel coordination
  • errand running,
  • household management
  • personal shopping
  • personal assistance and
  • event planning

Imagine stopping by the concierge desk in the morning on your way into work with a request for designing and planning tonight’s dinner party; only to leave the office 8 hours later armed with the necessary groceries, a customized cd for background music, a paired wine selection and personalized favors for each guest. A corporate concierge becomes the one-stop solution for the time strapped employees. Without a concierge, the employee must manage this to-do list from their own desk and their lunch hour is spent running the errands.

As the workforce begins to shift from retiring Baby Boomers to Generation X & Y prodigies, employers need to evolve. What worked “back in the day” in terms of designing a workplace is completely foreign to today’s up and comers. Gen X & Y demand instant gratification because they have grown up in a world of access.

Although this might seem extravagant to those over the age of 45, the “children are the future.” (cue Whitney Houston).  I think this is what Darwin would call “survival of the fittest.” The strongest employee benefits package will become King of the Jungle. If you don’t make their life easier, I’m sure your competitor would be glad to invite them over. Now is the time to be a trailblazer and create a workplace that can be a place for a Gen X / Y’er to park themselves for a while because their work/life balance needs are met, versus just being a hop, skip and a jump on their resume.

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