Enterprise Software

What company perks would increase your psychological health?

In March of this year, the American Psychological Association presented awards to corporations across the U.S. and Canada for "implementing programs and policies that foster employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance and productivity."

The 2006 recipients of the National Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards were:

  • Versant
  • The Comporium Group
  • ARUP Laboratories
  • IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center
  • Great River Health Systems
  • Green Chimneys School

The award is based on five factors—employee involvement, work-life balance, employee growth and development, health and safety, and employee recognition.

IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, for example, offers flexible work arrangements including part-time work, job sharing, unpaid leave, compressed work week, individualized work schedules, and work-at-home options. The success of these programs results in markedly low turnover rates and high productivity.

I have to say that my company has implemented a great many programs that fall into the above criteria, including EAP programs, free tai chi sessions, discounts on health spa memberships, and so on. And many more that we all take for granted.

But, just for fun, I thought I'd ruminate about what out-of-the-box perks would make the work environment even more psychologically healthy for me and me alone. This is what I had in mind:

  • A company dog—I just think it would be nice to have a pooch running around the building all day. Studies have shown that pets can lower blood pressure. What more data do you need?
  • A remote control that would allow me to fast-forward through meetings
  • Some sort of free-flowing chocolate deal on the premises
  • A soundproof scream chamber
  • Nap-time—For the first 4 or 5 years of our lives we are rigidly programmed to take midday naps, then when school and work comes along—when we most need them—they're just yanked away. Doesn't seem fair to me.
  • A seafood bar

What would your fantasy perks be?

About Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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