SLIGHTLY DEPRESSING realization: The average American works 1,797 hours a year, according to a 2008 ranking of the world’s hardest-working countries done by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. For the record, we came in at No. 9.
Though math is typically not a writer’s strong suit, let’s give a few equations a whirl: 1,797 divides out to be about 35 hours a week. However, though seven hours are, on average, spent at work, you can tack on two hours for a back-and-forth commute (unless you’re really lucky) and add in eight hours for sleeping. That only leaves seven hours a day for everything else. Plus, thanks to BlackBerrys, mobile phones and wireless e-mail, even those precious seven hours are probably infringed upon by career-related matters, despite any efforts to the contrary.
Work-life balance indeed. Fortunately, you can help.
Piece of Work
Crushing hours, deadlines and a list of benefits that are dwindling under today’s economic strain mean human-resource managers have their work cut out for them in terms of finding proper motivation tools. But believe it or not, now is the time to get selling. Jeanne Scully, vice president of human resources at Philadelphia-based North American Publishing Company, reported that now more than ever, the company is trying to keep employees’ spirits up. “We have tried to make an effort to do a little bit more,” she said.
In discussing her past experiences with employee gifting, Scully has run the gamut of incentive items. Though many are given out at holiday time, there are opportunities throughout the year for distributors to help human-resource departments find the right items. She pointed out that the company gives gifts to recognize achievements as well as little pick-me-ups throughout the year, such as the end of summer.
Below, Scully identifies some of her past gift programs and gauges each one’s success.