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Article No.: 08-4

Article Title: Concierge Services and Employee Well Being

Author: Linda Gravett, Ph.D., SPHR

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Have you ever left your workplace, gone to the parking lot or garage, and found your car sitting there with a flat tire?  After a long day at work, that can be pretty stressful. In some organizations, there’s a “white knight” coming to the rescue in the form of on-site concierge services.
 
In this 21st century fast-paced, stressful society, several factors combine to increase stress levels in the workplace: generational differences (and vastly different perspectives towards work ethic); fewer people in the workplace to do the same (or more) work; and intense competition levels in the marketplace. Any one of these factors is stressful enough on individual workers; combined, they result in a heavy weight.
 
In the research for our book, Bridging the Generation Gap, Robin Throckmorton and I asked employees, “What causes the most conflict and disagreement across age groups in your workplace?”  The overwhelming response was “differing views on work ethic”. Older workers said that they don’t think workers in their teens and 20’s have a work ethic.  Younger workers said that there’s too much emphasis on “face time” at the desk when work could just as easily been done at a home office.  In fact younger workers often multi-task and can accomplish a great deal in a short amount of time using technology, while older workers have a difficult time escaping the concept of “paying your dues” with time at work and working hard while there.  This push-pull in many work places is causing arguments and hurt feelings….and stress.
 
Within the next few years, Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) will be retiring in large numbers.  Many Boomers have already sought early retirement, either to begin a second career or enjoy their relative youth and good health.  This leaves a skills crisis and a staffing shortage, meaning longer hours and less time off for remaining employees. This adds another dimension of stress at work.
 
Instead of competition being down the street and around the corner for many businesses, competition is global.  Technology has brought purchasers of goods and services closer to potential sellers at an amazing rate.  The intensity of competition is heating up and will continue to do so. Add another dimension of stress.
 
Is it any wonder that many people in today’s workplace feel sleep deprived, time starved and stressed out?!  A recent study by the American Psychological Association reported that half of all working adults and 47% of Americans indicate they are concerned about the level of stress in their lives.  A recent Harris Interactive Study found that one in three U.S. workers feels that being overworked is a chronic condition.  The Anxiety Disorders Association of America reports that three in 10 Americans say they have experienced panic attacks.
 
The result of all this stress is a potential health crisis in the workplace, ranging from employees who have high blood pressure to heart attacks and strokes.  Now more than ever, employees will need an opportunity to break free occasionally and take some time off.  Employers can help the situation by taking proactive steps to help employees cope, such as sponsoring healthy eating and nutrition workshops; stress reduction workshops; health club memberships; and programs that promote work – life balance.
 
Concierge services are a fast-growing method of helping employees balance work and the pressures of family life.  The five most popular concierge services in today’s workplace are personal shopping; automobile services; mailing services; information referrals; and dry cleaning or laundry services.  In addition, emerging services gaining in popularity are child or elder care research; gift wrapping services; travel planning; and event planning.  The event planning services range from taking treats to school for employees’ children to planning graduation parties.
 
A national provider of concierge services, Best Upon Request, reports that over 90% of those who used concierge services report a decreased stress level and more balance in their lives. The same employees went on to say that they saved an average of two hours for each concierge service they utilized, and half of these people put the extra time back into their work.
 
Quantitative studies have not been conducted yet to tie concierge services to improved employee well being and satisfaction, although I believe future studies of this type will show these results.  For employers, this could translate to more productive employees who handle customer issues and complaints better and are less prone to absenteeism.  This is a trend well worth paying attention to!

If you have any questions or need more information about this article, please complete our Contact Form, or contact Dr. Gravett by telephone at 513-753-8870.

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