Life At Work: A Brave New World
by Garen Jemian
It's the topic few executives or HR managers want to discuss with regards to their employees yet it's one that we can no longer avoid: is there a place for the human alongside the machine at the
After speaking with countless individuals working in high stress environments, efficiency, productivity, process and professional responsibility far outweigh the importance of balance in the workers' lives. Just the hint of the notion puts everyone in a position of argument. There is a common fear among us that pushes us to protect the existing business ecosystem while we each do our individual best to gain a life of fulfillment both in our professional and personal lives.
The current rebuttal and stance is the popular term "benefits". One cannot argue that security both in work and in health is quite important and surely when that concept emerged years ago, employees all around were seduced and overjoyed with the idea. Times have changed since then. Nowadays, there is just so much you squeeze out of group insurance and health benefits. It's almost as though it's a temporary fix to a problem without dealing with the cause of the symptoms. What if you can drastically reduce sick days and visits to the therapist's office while increasing productivity, communication and team dynamics with one simple shift in perspective? Open the gates and incorporate life into work. It's the next logical step in business evolution.
Fortunately for some, organizations around the world are slowly opening up to the possibility of supporting their employees on a whole new level. Companies such as Google, Ubisoft and Stingray have broken past the stigmas of old and are constantly evolving the work environment to better care for their staff's well-being. In-house gyms, recreation areas, relaxation facilities, life coaching and group outings are becoming commonplace. According to most, it makes their work life that much more exciting. New roles have emerged in the form of TLC managers whose primary tasks are to ensure that the employees get everything they need out of their work life. One employee I recently spoke with went as far as to say that as much as he loves being at home, he can't wait to get to the office because he simply enjoys it that much. He regularly logs in overtime hours because he no longer feels that work is a chore. You can imagine the shock factor when hearing that for the first time!
Though each of these organizations has their own infrastructure set up for employee satisfaction, there is one thing they have in common other than being digital companies created in the modern era: they learned that work must incorporate life in order to motivate their workforce. When you allow the machine to become human, fascinating results emerge. Surely not all companies can afford such a lavish lifestyle but if desired, each one can choose to shift their thinking into the 21st century. Even the smallest efforts with good intentions are noticed and appreciated.
The current stagnant ecosystem, like our environment, is not easily sustainable. The workforce is slowly waking up to new possibilities and eventually the demand for a higher quality of life will outweigh the short supply the antiquated system is offering and, with time, this change will come.