As of last year, Business News Daily reports that approximately 15.8% of the American workforce do alternative work — in other words, those employed work as independent contractors (8.4%), on-call workers (2.65), contract firm workers (3.1%), and temporary help agency workers (1.6%). With these numbers on the rise and with the advent and incorporation of technology in the workplace, it makes sense that the business world is changing. What used to be your standard 9-to-5 work period is now turning into a 24-hour cycle. Guess what is also changing? Two words: Business policies—from no-cap vacation days to even videogames at the office. In fact, one company specifically encourages its employees to work no more than 32 hours per week. Read on to find out what unusual business policies companies are using to boost productivity and engagement in the workplace and how, why, and if they work. (Plus, learn why you may benefit from conducting an Idaho secretary of state business search.)
1. Do Not Discount a Social Media Policy
Social media policies are nothing new: some companies are huge proponents of them, while others band personal social media use at the office altogether claiming it contributes to productivity lows. But does it? Not necessarily. A Harvard Business Review states that social media use can actually increase the productivity lag; tech firm, Unysis, specifically leverages social media to be more agile and share knowledge. As the article goes on to state, it is how companies use social media that matters — meaning, in a nutshell, widespread social media education and training across all company positions, from shareholders to entry level.
But Here’s the Downside…
Not all social media use at the office is positive. Another Harvard Business Review states that employees who use social media for work are (startlingly) more likely to jump ship to another organization. Specifically, one-quarter of employees who use social media leisurely do so to search for new employment. While almost half of employees (47%) who use social media professionally are on the lookout for a new job.
To Have or Not to Have a Social Media Policy?
From a cybersecurity standpoint, play it safe and adopt and implement a social media policy, even if you do not allow personal social media use at the office. Why? Let’s face it, rule or not, chances are, employees are checking their social platforms — in fact, using social media ranks as the second most popular unproductive activity at the office, taking up a whopping 44 minutes of employees’ time.
2. Yes, Not Capping Vacation Days May Actually Incentivize Employees
Like with the standard 8-hour workday, say goodbye to the two-week vacation period. Companies like General Electric, LinkedIn, and HubSpot allow employees to take unlimited vacation days. The upsides? Flexible or no-cap vacation policies incentivize employees to get desired results, plus it communicates trust and respect between higher-ups and lower-level employees. In theory, unlimited vacation means employees can take the number of days they need to rest, relax, and come back to the office burnout-free and ready to work.
But It Is Not All Sunshine: The Darker Side Behind Uncapped Vacation Policies
According to Fast Company, small business, Mammoth, offered its employees unlimited vacation days only to find out one year later that employees took the same number of days off as the year before. Yes, one reason could be that most employees really do only need roughly 10 to 14 days off each year. But — and here’s where it gets interesting — employees maybe hesitant to take a week off, let alone a few days out of shame.
Millennials, in particular, suffer from a newfound workplace condition, vacation shame. As its name suggests, (59% of) Gen Y employees feel shame from co-workers and higher-ups— and one-third feel guilt —when going on vacation, which means many don’t. Instead of spending those well-earned days on the beach sipping martinis, despite their young age, millennials increase their chances of experiencing burnout.
3. Working Only 32 Hours Is Encouraged for This Company
In a 2015 study, Americans worked an average of 34.4 hours per week, which was 2 hours longer than the average in Australia and 3.2 hours more than Sweden. However, it is common to hear adults report working even longer hours, with CNN going on to state that adults on average put in 47 hours each week. So, it comes with much surprise when Basecamp CEO, Jason Fried stated that employees can work as little as 32 hours a week. The reason? Better work-life balance, which can lower stress levels and positively impact health
4. Video Games at Work Increases Productivity and Engagement?
Did you know that playing video games are a stress reliever and, yes, may even be a benefit at the office? This especially applies to employees who put in long hours — as much as 50 to 100 per week. Intermittent video game sessions may actually be that much-needed rest period to recharge and re-center haggard employees stressed out over that detailed report.
Bonus: While Great in Theory, Think Twice About Installing That Treadmill Desk
Treadmill desks may sound like a great productivity invention — who doesn’t want to get work done and cut out that gym session? Treadmill desks at work may seem to help employees get in shape, stay focused, and help companies cut down on health insurance costs. Think again. According to the New York Times, a study reported that participants performed worse when using a treadmill than sitting. Perhaps companies looking to reduce health insurance expenses may benefit from ditching the treadmill desk and instead implement a fitness challenge or wellness program?
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