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The Other 16 Hours

Cassandra Rose, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

From the indus­tri­al era to the dot com bub­ble, the mod­ern work­place has under­gone quite the trans­for­ma­tion. Many com­pa­nies offer on-site gyms, high-end snacks, stand/​sit desks, med­i­ta­tion rooms, and even in-office mas­sage ser­vices. These are very thought­ful ways to keep employ­ees healthy, fit, and relaxed at work. A decade ago, HR would be able to check the ​“take care of our peo­ple” box, and move on to focus on oth­er priorities.

Not anymore.

Today’s ​“tal­ent war” is won by com­pa­nies that dis­cov­er how to impact their employ­ees’ lives out­side of the office. Stud­ies are clear that much of the stress in employ­ees’ lives is gen­er­at­ed apart from work. 34% of Gen Xers say they’re dis­tract­ed from work by their finan­cial stress. 37% of Mil­len­ni­als say the same.

Oth­er major sources of stress include fam­i­ly respon­si­bil­i­ties, mov­ing to a new home, get­ting mar­ried, the death of a loved one, car­ing for a sick or aging fam­i­ly mem­ber, and emo­tion­al prob­lems. One might say employ­ees ​“bring these to work with them” or focus on employ­ees ​“tak­ing work stress home with them”.

Regardless, it’s clear that we must begin to focus on the other sixteen hours when employees aren’t at work.

The good news is that many thought­ful peo­ple have launched busi­ness­es to aid employ­ees in reduc­ing stress and sim­pli­fy­ing their lives. A quick Google search reveals finan­cial plan­ning and/​or coun­sel­ing ser­vices to relieve finan­cial doubt and wor­ry. Men­tal health coun­sel­ing is avail­able online and at rea­son­able costs. Child­care ser­vices have become easy to use, with vet­ted care­givers, and are avail­able to be used abun­dant­ly or spar­ing­ly to fit indi­vid­ual needs. The list goes on and on.

Our mission at Fringe is to ​“connect people to services that simplify their lives. Fringe benefits reduce stress, give time back, impact the family, and spark joy.”

We believe that employ­ers great­ly ben­e­fit from enabling their employ­ees to choose and uti­lize ser­vices that have a mean­ing­ful impact on their lives.

With Mil­len­ni­als rapid­ly tak­ing over the work­force, it’s clear that ​“work-life bal­ance” is a thing of the past. Work and ​“life” are one and the same. Mil­len­ni­als are com­mit­ted to liv­ing life to the fullest, and yes, that includes a pur­pose­ful and ful­fill­ing job. The Mil­len­ni­al gen­er­a­tion is respon­si­ble for cre­ativ­i­ty and inno­va­tion in our world, and there­fore high­ly moti­vat­ed to work. The thing is, today’s employ­ee wants their employ­er to rec­og­nize that they aren’t ONLY an employee…but also a per­son with a life, friends, fam­i­ly, strug­gles, and joys. A mean­ing­ful rela­tion­ship with an employ­ee (and make no mis­take, this is the expec­ta­tion) means car­ing for the whole per­son all the time.

We must stop compartmentalizing. Stop believing that our care for our people ends at 5:00pm.

Your employ­er brand goes home with your peo­ple. Your brand falls on the ears of spous­es, friends, neigh­bors, and oth­er would-be employ­ees. The feed­back from these peo­ple in your employ­ees’ lives impacts their deci­sion to stay, to go, to give it their all, or to skate by with min­i­mal effort.

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