Helping employees align the demands of work and home life is a challenge anywhere.
But in New York, it’s especially tough. Big Apple commuters average more than six hours in transit weekly, giving them the longest workweek in the country. Plus, the region is known for its competitive, fast-paced work culture. That’s why our Great Place to Work team was surprised to find the Best Workplaces in New York stand well above their peers on measures of work-life balance.
So how are they doing it? Here are 5 key ways:
1. Fostering Flexibility
Nearly three-quarters of the leading companies in New York offer flexible scheduling, and 86 percent have a telecommuting option. These practices aren’t necessarily new, yet their frequent adoption at the Best Workplaces shows they have a big impact on employee well-being.
At government research and development organization SRC, employees who need more time at home in the mornings can push back the start of their workday, or even schedule work around a child’s ball game.
2. Helping Post-Baby
In addition to the generous parental leave offered by many of the Best Workplaces, Gibbons law firm helps new parents resume their work lives gradually without worrying that it will jeopardize their careers. Returning lawyers can work 60 percent of their normal billable hours for up to a year, then 80 percent for an indefinite period after that. The firm emphasizes that using this benefit does not prevent people from moving up the ladder. Additionally, Gibbons offers emergency childcare for all employees and covers nearly all of the cost.
3. Respecting Rest
A good work-life balance requires more than a manageable schedule. After all, it’s harder to make the most of down time if you’re completely exhausted at the end of the day.
Research has shown that stepping back from work for short periods throughout the day can reduce burnout, enhance job satisfaction and improve wellness. BounceX, another business on the Best Workplaces in New York list, takes breaks a step further, offering free massage and meditation sessions monthly. Employees at this software company can also step away to clear their heads in the company game room, during a free workout at the gym or even by taking the day off for a personal project.
4. Making Life Easier
When long hours are unavoidable, the Best Workplaces try to minimize the chores their employees have to contend with when they get home. Goldman Sachs arranges meals for employees working into the evening and hosts a car service for people leaving the office after 10 p.m. Co-workers can take care of their personal banking on site. Larger offices host fitness centers, and a concierge can arrange other services that help free up time off-the-clock.
5. Seeing the Benefits
Ninety-two percent of employees say they can take time off when they need it at the Best Workplaces in New York. And with annual revenue growth averaging 24 percent, these leading employers show that accommodating colleagues’ personal lives doesn’t have to come at the expense of performance.
What’s more, employees who say they’re encouraged to balance work and personal life were twice as likely to say they’re willing to give extra to get the job done. Any organization can inspire similar commitment by trusting people with some leeway in their schedules and finding opportunities to improve the downtime we all need to bring our best to work.