What Makes a Great Place to Work?

Read this section to look at benefits and some factors that make a business a good place to work.

Work/Life Quality

Building a career requires a substantial commitment in time and energy, and most people find that they aren't left with much time for nonwork activities. Fortunately, many organizations recognize the need to help employees strike a balance between their work and home lives. By helping employees combine satisfying careers and fulfilling personal lives, companies tend to end up with a happier, less-stressed, and more productive workforce. The financial benefits include lower absenteeism, turnover, and health care costs.


Alternative Work Arrangements

The accounting firm KPMG, which has made the list of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" for twelve years, is committed to promoting a balance between its employees' work and personal lives. KPMG offers a variety of work arrangements designed to accommodate different employee needs and provide scheduling flexibility.


Flextime

Employers who provide for flextime set guidelines that allow employees to designate starting and quitting times. Guidelines, for example, might specify that all employees must work eight hours a day (with an hour for lunch) and that four of those hours must be between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thus, you could come in at 7 a.m. and leave at 4 p.m., while coworkers arrive at 10 a.m. and leave at 7 p.m. With permission you could even choose to work from 8 a.m to 2 p.m., take two hours for lunch, and then work from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Compressed Workweeks

Rather than work eight hours a day for five days a week, you might elect to earn a three-day weekend by working ten hours a day for four days a week.


Part-Time Work

If you're willing to have your pay and benefits adjusted accordingly you can work fewer than forty hours a week.


Job Sharing

Under job sharing, two people share one full-time position, splitting the salary and benefits of the position as each handles half the job. Often they arrange their schedules to include at least an hour of shared time during which they can communicate about the job.


Telecommuting

Telecommuting means that you regularly work from home (or from some other nonwork location). You're connected to the office by computer, fax, and phone. You save on commuting time, enjoy more flexible work hours, and have more opportunity to spend time with your family. A study of 5,500 IBM employees (one-fifth of whom telecommute) found that those who worked at home not only had a better balance between work and home life but also were more highly motivated and less likely to leave the organization.

Though it's hard to count telecommuters accurately, some estimates put the number of people who work at home at least one day a week at 20 percent. This estimate includes 2 percent of workers who run home-based businesses and 2 percent who work exclusively at home for other companies". Telecommuting isn't for everyone. Working at home means that you have to discipline yourself to avoid distractions, such as TV, personal phone calls, home chores, or pets, and some people feel isolated from social interaction in the workplace.