A growing number of companies are implementing benefits programs that support employee efforts to balance work and personal obligations. Following are some of the most common nontraditional offerings.
Telecommuting is any scheduling arrangement in which employees spend a portion of the week working from home. Their schedules remain the same, but travel time is eliminated. In a recent survey of executives, 63 percent of respondents said telecommuting programs are most effective at the staff level, as opposed to telecommuting by managers and executives.
Flextime is one of the most widespread alternate work options and is geared toward employees who normally work a fixed number of hours each day, as opposed to managers or salespeople whose schedules fluctuate according to daily job demands. In a typical flextime situation, an individual works the same number of hours in a standard workday, but his or her start and finish times may differ from those of other employees. A common variation of flextime is the compressed workweek. Instead of five eight-hour days, four ten-hour days are worked, resulting in one less day in the office per week.
With job sharing, two part-time employees share the duties and responsibilities of one full-time job. The tasks and responsibilities are typically divided in half, but the division of labor can also be based on the preference or proficiencies of each partner. Job sharing is best suited for positions with clearly defined tasks and predictable job pressure. The downside to job sharing is that finding the right partner can be as tough as finding the perfect job.
On-Site Child Care:
On-site child care is a great idea in theory the convenience to the working parent is obvious. But many companies find that government regulations and the cost of liability insurance make this a difficult program to implement. As a result, many opt for contracted day care, where the employer contracts with one or more outside providers to offer child care services for employees.
As people live longer, a growing number of employees are caring for their aging parents or other relatives. Companies are responding to this trend by offering elder care benefits, such as referrals to service providers.
As companies incorporate nontraditional benefits into their compensation packages, they're finding another advantage to these offerings: employees with better work-life balance bring more energy and drive to the job.
"As companies incorporate nontraditional benefits into their compensation packages, they're finding another advantage to these offerings: employees with better work-life balance bring more energy and drive to the job."