How Google is hacking work-life balance for its employees and for the rest of humanity

Writing at Harvard Business Review, Google’s SVP of People Operations discusses how Google is hacking the serious issue of work-life balance. Google has always been known to rely heavily on analysis for making decisions (sometimes to a fault).

The reason that Google offers the amazing perks to employees—from amazing free food to free onsite physicians, travel insurance, extended family leave, and even discount legal services—is due to the fact that employees are expected to give their life to the company. Long hours are made much more palatable when you are eating better at work than at home.

But, Google is also aware that there is much more to the whole work-life balance issue than free food. To find out how to make that balance more beneficial in the long-term for its employees, Google is conducting an in-depth study that is scheduled to last 100 years, called gDNA. Although only two years into the study, Google already has some results worth sharing.

How can you improve work-life balance for your organization?

Here are some tips for establishing your own evidence-based process for improving the lives of your employees:

  1. Ask yourself what your most pressing people issues are. Retention? Innovation? Efficiency? Or better yet, ask your people what those issues are.
  2. Survey your people about how they think they are doing on those most pressing issues, and what they would do to improve.
  3. Tell your people what you learned. If it’s about the company, they’ll have ideas to improve it. If it’s about themselves – like our gDNA work – they’ll be grateful.
  4. Run experiments based on what your people tell you. Take two groups with the same problem, and try to fix it for just one. Most companies roll out change after change, and never really know why something worked, or if it did at all. By comparing between the groups, you’ll be able to learn what works and what doesn’t.

Source: HBR Blogs


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Image courtesy brionv

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