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Tilt the Scales in Your Organization's Favor With Rewards That Lead to Work/Life Balance

A recent jobtrack.com survey found that 42 percent of all job seekers identify work/life issues as the most important consideration in their choice of a new job. Additionally, PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that 57 percent of college students say their primary goal is achieving a balance between personal life and career.

Why is work/life balance so popular? Because it's mutually beneficial to employees and employers. These programs take a load off employees' minds and help them focus on their work, which makes them more productive. While work/life programs often appear in the form of benefits, they can also serve as innovative rewards that employees will truly appreciate.

Consider these ideas:

On-site chair massages—Relaxed employees perform better! Chair massages are easy to arrange and don't cost much. Employees may even agree to contribute to the cost of such a comfy opportunity.

Event tickets—Give employees several tickets to an event to which they can invite family and friends.

Grant time off—An afternoon away from work can help employees tie up personal tasks that left undone might leave them feeling distracted from work

Help them at home—People sometimes feel overwhelmed by household work. Reward employees with a certificate for maid services or lawn care that they can use at their discretion.

Offer an extended lunch break—Next time it's a beautiful day, give your staff an extra hour for lunch during which they can enjoy nature. They'll come back refreshed and ready to work.

Casual dress—Offer to relax the company dress policy if your team meets specific goals or completes a major project. It takes the pressure off what to wear and makes an ordinary day seem special.

Arrange for temporary help—If someone has been logging excessive hours or has been unusually swamped by a major project, offer to bring in temporary help to get the job done. Be sure the employee understands the extra help is not an insult to his or her abilities.

When using work/life balance rewards, it's key that you're in tune with employees. Find out what would make their lives easier and develop creative ideas that address those problems. As with any award, work/life awards will be most effective when they are tied directly to employee performance.