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Best Practices - Work/Life Balance

Tiffany Barber

How the Best ensure employees balance work and play

At Ehrhardt Keefe Steiner & Hottman, an accounting and business consulting firm and #10 Best Medium Workplace, 50% of employees take advantage of the option to work an 11-month year. In an industry known for an overwhelming workload during tax season, EKS&H has thought of an innovative way to reward employees for their efforts. But they don’t stop there; employees are also given an $80 dinner gift certificate to help celebrate the end of the busy season.

A similar approach to work/life balance is taken at Badger Mining Corporation, #3 Best Small Workplace in 2012. Here we find a small company whose work is particularly labor intensive. To ensure the health and physical safety of its employees, thirty hours per week is considered full-time at Badger Mining. In addition, benefits include unlimited sick and personal days, as well as four weeks paid vacation each year.

More and more companies are offering their employees unlimited sick time, and this year over a third of companies on the 2012 Best Small & Medium Workplaces list extended this benefit to employees. What’s interesting to note is that even with this generous offer, employees typically take fewer days off for health reasons! Talent Plus, for example, #6 Best Small Workplace, has found that employees only take an average of 1.5 days of sick time per year when offered unlimited sick time.

At Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation, #2 Best Small Workplace, the health of employees takes top priority. Their initiatives on health include CARE Days, where preventative measures are offered and paid for by the company, saving employees time and money.  Even better, managers are held accountable when their employees don’t take enough time off, enabling employees to work well and live well.

At People Matter, an information technology and software company in South Carolina, employees are given a variety benefits and programs designed to support work-life balance.  With a vacation policy that offers unlimited PTO, in addition to 10 official holidays and 2 “on-the-fly” holidays, time away from the office is supported and encouraged. Additionally, employees are eligible for a 4-week paid sabbatical once every 3 years. Additionally, 80% of employees take advantage of their flexible scheduling program, and 100% of health care is covered for employees and retirees! Throw in a free, onsite fitness center that even employees’ families can use, and we had to give this company an Honorable Mention for its world class efforts in the Work/Life Balance category.

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Tiffany Barber is the Associate Manager of Marketing and Communications and an avid blogger for Great Place to Work®.


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