Millennials prize work-life balance above all other employment-related goals. They’re also more likely to have a spouse or partner in the workforce than any other generation, so flexibility is key to keeping them engaged in their work. Therefore, many unions that seek to recruit younger workforces will emphasize their ability to obtain generationally-important benefits from employers. However, savvy businesses know that they can provide the specific benefits their employees desire, benefits that both engender loyalty and demonstrate responsiveness to its workers’ needs.
Instead of dividing paid leave into sick time and vacation days, employers can transition into a paid time off policy that places all time off in one PTO “bucket.” This time off policy allows employees to take time off when they need it without having to account for how they’re spending their time off. On the flip side, today’s workers, those that are highly engaged and inspired by their work, can have a tendency not to take that time off. To make sure that your most dedicated employees don’t experience burnout, allow a very limited amount PTO to carry over to the next calendar year.
Most employees carry smartphones during vacations and time off, but your manager and leaders should avoid contacting them unless it’s a genuine emergency. Support a work culture that allows employees not to check or answer their emails during their off-hours. Businesses who encourage employees to take a true vacation are rewarded with more productive and loyal employees.
Over three-quarters of married Millennials also have a spouse that works full-time. So companies that can provide flexible schedules, partial telecommuting, four 10-hour shifts per week or other attractive options can attract better talent and cultivate loyalty among employees.
Even if your company does not fall under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, you will want to offer leave options to new parents. Research indicates that paid maternity leave had no adverse effect or even a positive effective on businesses 91 percent of the time. Offering paid leave also increased the chance that an employee would return to work after the birth or adoption of a child. Top tech companies who compete for talent know the benefits of offering paid parental leave: They already offer some of the most generous packages in the United States. Remember that even your employees without children may need time off to care for a family member, parent, or spouse.
Sometimes companies that offer work-life-affirming benefits find that few workers regularly use them. It’s natural that some businesses have busy periods where employees really can’t take time off. But workers should balance these busy times by taking more time off during the year. To demonstrate that the company supports this balance, your managers and leaders should exemplify work-life balance in their lives. Not only will regular time off increase productivity, in management but it should also assuage worker fears that they’ll experience retribution if they take regular time off. Having regular discussions about taking time off conveys that the company cares about team members, making them less likely to become disgruntled during busy periods.
On-site daycare, flexible telecommuting, and other benefits allow employees a chance to balance their work lives while focusing on their personal well-being. Because so many parents are part of two-income households, companies can’t expect that a stay-at-home spouse will be responsible for covering minor family emergencies. Companies such as American Express have seen success by offering their workers even more flexibility to handle minor family problems, coupled with providing backup care services that employees can use.
Already there are more Millennials in the workforce than Generation X, and within the next few years, they’ll overtake Boomers as well. For this reason, businesses should consider now how they can support their younger workforce and demonstrate that a union-free company is better for everyone. Companies who ignore workplace flexibility and work-life balance risk creating an inviting environment for union organizing. Any employer working to build a union-proof culture knows that it’s far more cost-effective to retain the best workers, rather than having to recruit, hire and train repeatedly.
But you don’t have to have ping-pong tables in your conference room in order to reap the value of teleworking for your business. As overhead costs continue to rise, along with the cost of fuel and the stress of a daily commute, more and more employers are appreciating the ways teleworking can positively impact their bottom line, while at the same time, increase employee job satisfaction.
Employers who choose to allow employees to work from home enjoy:
1. Improved Employee Productivity
A number of studies and reports on teleworking show evidence of 15%-45% gains in productivity when employees work from home. With fewer interruptions , less opportunities for socializing and less stress in general, teleworking employees have more time to focus on their goals for the day. Teleworking also allows employees to schedule their actual work time during their most productive periods of the day, and around the other demands in their lives.
2. Reduced Overhead
When you increase your number of teleworking employees, you have the opportunity to decrease your overhead expenses – less office space, less parking, even reduced liability and health insurance costs. The Telework Coalition estimates the cost of office space for the average worker to be $10,000 a year – how much could your company save?
3. Increased Employee Recruitment and Retention
Teleworking is an attractive option for job-seekers – in fact, in one survey, one-third of CFOs stated that a telework program was the best way to attract top talent. Teleworking also provides a great deal of incentive for current employees to stay with the company, providing increased job satisfaction and flexibility. Great employees whose life circumstances may have forced them to leave their position may find they can remain in their jobs, thanks to telework.
4. Reduced Absenteeism & Maintenance of Operations In Emergencies
Teleworkers stay on the job, when a snow storm hits, when children are home sick, or in other instances where 9-5 workers traditionally must take a sick or personal day. In times of emergency, your Teleworking employees can actually help keep your operations up and running during the crisis, because they’re already set up to work from home.
5. Helps Save The Environment (& Your Sanity) By Eliminating The Commute
It’s reported that traffic congestion cost U.S. commuters $121 billion in wasted time and fuel in 2011. Adding telework as an option for your employees helps save money, stress and time for the teleworker, and promotes a greener world for us all!
Teleworking is a valuable perk for your employees – if you’re thinking about implementing a telework program, be sure to contact Projections first, for a custom internal communications plan to market the new initiative to your employees!