Work-Life Model

For roughly four decades, work-life programs have improved the lives of workers and strengthened their employers’ organizations.

Throughout the years studies have shown that work-life programs help people integrate their work and personal responsibilities more efficiently, reduce their stress levels and remain healthier and happier overall. For organizations, work-life programs raise productivity and engagement levels while reducing turnover and burnout.

The benefits of work-life programs were highlighted again earlier this year when the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a report concluding that federal employees who take part in work-life programs are more likely to exceed expectations and better advance their agency’s mission. Ninety-six percent of the 64,000+ OPM survey respondents said they want to make use of at least one of their agency’s work-life programs.

So the question for today’s employers isn’t whether work-life programs are a wise investment. The question is … Which work-life model is right for your organization?

Two Basic Choices, One Big Difference

When it comes to work-life programs, employers can choose from two basic models: 1) the self-service model or 2) the call center model.

The self-service model gives employees access to online work-life resources such as articles, guidebooks and searchable databases (containing child care organizations, locations and contact information, for example). With this model, employees act as their own researchers and advocates, and they alone must find and utilize the resources that will help them most.

Call Center

The call center model, on the other hand, offers employees the same online resources but it also provides them with 24/7 access to a call center staffed by knowledgeable live specialists who are trained to answer questions, offer guidance and personally assist employees in resolving their issues. Call center specialists ensure that employees are aware of all of the helpful resources available to them and that they utilize the best possible resources for their needs. This is especially important, as the needs of many employees are complex and fraught with critical decisions to be made. Having the ability to call specialists 24/7 to seek consultation and guidance reduces employees’ stress, saves them time and keeps them focused and productive on the job.

Here are a few examples of typical work-life issues that impact employees and how they would go about resolving them under each model:

A backup care emergency—One of your employees has a special-needs toddler and her regular child care provider has suddenly taken ill. Under the self-service model, the employee searches an online database of alternate child care providers, hoping to find ones that are certified to handle special-needs children and within a reasonable distance of her commute. She then contacts providers until she finds one she’s happy with and makes the necessary arrangements. Or, if the search becomes too difficult or time-consuming, she may give up and choose to stay home from work.

Under the call center model, your employee can contact a highly trained specialist, day or night, to help her find reliable care. After learning the details of the situation, the specialist does in-depth research to find reliable care that’s available when the employee needs it and calls back to present the options. The specialist can even make the care reservation for your employee. This unbiased, personalized support is a relief during what can be a very stressful situation, where there’s a small window dictating whether your employee will be able to get care and get to work.

Breastfeeding Mom

Breastfeeding concerns—One of your employees is a soon-to-be or new mother and is feeling overwhelmed about breastfeeding her newborn. In addition, the stress of balancing breastfeeding and working can be a big challenge. Under the self-service model, she searches an online database of articles and guidebooks that may or may not address her specific concerns.

Under the call center model, your employee has 24/7, one-on-one access to certified lactation consultants to help her through challenges, answer questions and address concerns. This level of personalized assistance offers unparalleled peace of mind, especially for new parents.

 Eldercare challenges—One of your employees is caring for his aging father who is suffering from the beginnings of dementia. Under the self-service model, he searches for materials about the condition and how he needs to prepare to take care of his father’s changing needs. Again, these materials may or may not address his specific needs and challenges.

Under the call center model, this employee can connect with a senior care expert about all the challenges he is facing. The personal touch and tailored support can be a tremendous relief during a time that can be upsetting, confusing and overwhelming, allowing your employee to make informed decisions for his loved one’s care.

Greater Support Pays Serious Dividends

Obviously, the call center model offers advantages over the self-service model. Being able to talk with live specialists means employees get the help they need faster and with less stress than when they have to act as their own researchers and advocates. This increases program utilization and ROI—not to mention satisfaction and engagement levels. Employees also feel more supported, respected and cared-for when they have access to live specialists.

In 2018 alone, LifeCare’s work-life programs (the call center model) saved clients’ employees an average of nearly 11 hours per call—that’s time they would have spent resolving their issues, often during work hours—and 77% of employees say we reduced their stress levels. In addition, 67% of our members said our programs increased their overall productivity while 76% reported an increase in employee loyalty.

If you’d like to discuss how a comprehensive work-life program could serve your organization and its people, contact us here or call us at 1-(866) 675-3751.