Haris Ahmed | Chicago | Adapting Work Life Balance Changes in the Workplace

Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant: Promoting Work Life Balance in the Workplace

For Haris Ahmed of Chicago-based management consulting firm Pragmatium Consulting, Inc., creating a fun, safe, and healthy workplace environment for employees promotes wellness and wellbeing; and emphasizes the company’s dedication to taking care of their employees.

Today’s workplace environment has dramatically changed since a decade ago. And organizations are paying more attention to the work-life balance concept. Taking care of employees’ health and safety is no longer restricted to providing a comprehensive health insurance package or having safety measures in place, which often includes providing ergonomic office furniture. Back in the day, the most that companies provide in terms of additional health perks is a gym membership. These days, however, it’s becoming quite common to find a gym in the workplace.

But companies like Google, Microsoft, and Unilever have taken health and wellness a step (several steps actually) further, and provided facilities to promote wellbeing. Understanding that employees nowadays are more discriminating about the working environment presented to them, they adopted certain health and wellness measures to ensure that the workplace will be as stress-free as possible for their employees. It’s places like these that employees actually look forward to every morning that they wake up and get ready for work.

When the workplace becomes less of a strict and rigid environment and more of a fun place to be in, applicants will actually be knocking at the door asking for an opportunity to work there!

Who wouldn’t want to work for a company such as the ones below?

1. Google. Dining areas (gourmet café, anyone?) that serve health food choices, juice bars, fitness gyms, free massages, doctors and nurses on-site, free shuttle service, paid leave for new parents (with a little extra cash to welcome their new bundle of joy with a celebratory party), travel insurance (for business and personal travels!), and “nap pods” that allow uninterrupted quick snoozes in the workplace—what more could one ask for?

2. Microsoft. First off, the tech giant offers free shuttle service to its employees to and from work, and this isn’t your ordinary shuttle service too because it has free wi-fi (I wouldn’t expect any less from Microsoft, to be honest). Cafes and kitchens that provide healthy, organic food; paid maternity leave and paid paternity leave, on-site spa, a sports field (!), dry-cleaning service, on-site retail shop and salon, and on top of all these, an additional paid gym membership—all of these are at the disposal of all its employees!

3. Unilever. For Haris Ahmed and his Chicago team, Unilever’s “Wellbeing Zone” is the best part of the job. This is a quiet zone where employees can meditate or rest for a little while—to de-stress and relax. Imagine having a “safe haven” you can visit anytime while at work—to get away from the noise and chaos of a hectic work day.

There are different ‘compartments’ in the Wellbeing Zone—a quiet zone, an activity zone where employees can do yoga or have massages, a food zone that has healthy snacks on stock, and a “Connection Bridge” where employees can have quiet conversations.

Organizational leaders can take inspiration from these companies, and apply their own work-life balance measures to make the workplace a fun, safe, and healthy environment for their employees.

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