There has always been a debate about whether one should live to work or work to live. For thousands of years, most people had no choice, which is still the case in many societies. However, in developed countries, there appears to be a generational shift. Boomers seemed to have it all. They were significantly better off than their parents, benefited from free university education and had access to cheap houses and inexpensive mortgages. So how can we ensure employees are happy?
On the other hand, millennials have lived through a time when workers’ rights have been eroded, and a degree is no longer a guarantee of job security. In addition, the rise of the gig economy has seen massive workplace flexibility and little to no loyalty. A recent Gallup survey branded these workers as the job-hopping generation. Twenty-one per cent said they had changed employer in the last twelve months – three times higher than across the employment market as a whole. Furthermore, the survey found they are not engaged in their work and do not put their energy and passion into their jobs.
Gen Z employees are taking a different approach. They have decided to reject toxic workplace cultures and find a better work-life balance. They are increasingly likely to unionise and ask for better working conditions. As high workforce turnover is incredibly costly to employers, many forward-looking businesses have already looked at implementing practices that lead to happier employees.
It may come as no surprise to discover that the tech industry is leading the way in devising new ways of working that are helping to retain workers. From video conferencing to content management, online industries are listening to what makes their workforce happy. Rather than asking employees to follow the clock slavishly, many businesses are now more interested in the results. Companies with the highest level of employee satisfaction have implemented some or all of the following changes.
Four Day Week
Businesses have moved away from the traditional workday and work pattern. As well as paying them for an entire week but asking them to show up on four days, these companies have reduced the working week to a maximum of thirty-two hours. When Microsoft did this for their Japanese workforce, they saw productivity increase by forty per cent.
Remote working came into its own during the Covid-19 pandemic. More traditional critics would like to see this practice end believing that people only work together when in one place together. However, many industries, have offered remote or hybrid work for years. As a result, workers have increased flexibility and no longer spend hours commuting. In almost all cases, productivity goes up and not down.
Timed to suit employees
Companies with the happiest employees allow staff to schedule their working day rather than clock in and out at set out. Of course, asynchronous working does not suit all sectors; however, where it does, employees are more in control of their work-life balance. It also allows firms to find the best people who work across different time zones. For example, Microgaming, developer of choice for many top rated slot sites, have been praised by employees on Glassdoor for being flexible in regard to timekeeping, work hours and working-from-home policies.
Unlimited Paid Holiday
The idea of unlimited paid holidays might be enough to cause senior management to feel uncomfortable. How can they guarantee enough staff will get the work done? Interestingly, engaged employees trusted to manage their work-life balance appear to make reasonable requests. Companies that allow employees to request uncapped paid time off thrive when the workforce is output-focused.
Traditionally companies lose experienced, gifted employees because they want to take a break to try something else. However, several global organisations in the tech sector allow their employees to take extended breaks from work and retain their salaries. The sabbatical could be for personal enrichment or education, but these are not paid holidays.
You might wonder why you need to bother about happiness at work. Well, essentially, it is about the bottom line. Getting an excellent work-life balance for employees is a shrewd business strategy. It leads to higher staff retention and increased profitability.