Episode 87.5 – Green Apple Slice


3 Benefits Companies Can Provide To Boost Work-Life Balance


The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or Stitcher.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Forbes article, “3 Benefits Companies Can Provide To Boost Work-Life Balance” by Rachel Ritlop.


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    John: It’s another episode of Green Apple Slices. This is John Garrett coming to you live – I don’t know, are we live? I guess that’s what it is – with Rachel Fisch.

    Rachel: Hello, John. How are you?

    John: Yeah, I’m on fire.

    Rachel: Oh, my goodness. Imagine that.

    John: Yeah, every Monday we go over an article that we find online and talk it through. So short little burst for everyone to start their week. This week’s no different. I found an article on Forbes by Rachel Ritlop. It’s called “Three Benefits Companies Can Provide to Boost Work Life Balance.” Everyone’s talking about that for sure.

    I mean, that was a big thing when I first started back in the 90s, last century. But it’s still a thing, and people try and say it’s a millennial thing, and it’s not. It’s not a millennial thing. It’s just the millennial say it out loud. It’s stuff that we’ve all been thinking.

    Rachel: This whole work life balance thing, I think it’s a little bit of a miss. I think that maybe that’s not the best word for it, or I just suck at it.

    John: Well, there’s a lot of speakers out there and authors and people that talk about how it’s not really – there’s not two separate things. It’s all your life. It’s just part of your life is your work. It’s just what percentage of underneath the big bubble of life is work is up to you.

    Rachel: Yes.

    John: Just making sure that it doesn’t creep over into the 90-percentile range, Rachel, but there are just a couple of things. Really quick article that I thought was great was just a couple of things that companies or firms can think about as far as how we might be able to at least give people permission to have more of a balance and not feel the pressure to always have to be in the office, face time, in front of employees, at your desk.

    That was the first thing was just having flexible schedules. Nowadays, people have varied lifestyles, and people with kids and people that are busy doing activities, and all the work doesn’t have to be done in between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

    Rachel: Yeah. I think that people have prime parts of their day where they’re the most productive, and I even heard that this actually can change seasonally. The prime productive time during the summer maybe different times in the day than in the winter, and vice versa. So it would kind of be interesting to kind of keep track of those times that you’re most productive, just kind of keep a year-long journal and see if you can identify some of those cycles, and then create your work schedule around those times where you’re the most productive. Having a flexible schedule then will definitely allow you the ability to do that.

    John: Right, absolutely. One thing that some places even did – you have unlimited vacation days. Here’s the work that you need to get done. You’re an adult. If you get the work done, then great, and whatever you do in between there, knock yourself out. You know what I mean?

    The one thing that’s the flip of that, though, is that sometimes people feel vacation shamed. That even happens even without unlimited vacation. I was talking with Liz Mason on the Green Apple Podcast, and she was talking about that when she worked for a bigger firm. They gave her so many vacation days, and she took all of them. Some people made her feel like you’re not supposed to do that, and it’s – “Well, why did you give them to me?”

    Rachel: Yeah, I was reading another article earlier this week, and it was talking about how everybody, like generally speaking, people leave at least three days of their vacation time left at the end of the year. Three days isn’t that much, but then if you think of that many people that’s actually not consuming all their vacation, it turns into like million and billions and kazillions of dollars kind of left on the table that you’re not taking advantage of throughout of the year.

    Purpose is to take them so that you can fill reenergized and so that you can be most productive when you are at work. So yeah, no. I hear you.

    John: Absolutely. I meant, it’s like if someone offered you a salary, and you’re like “No, no I’d rather take $5, 000 less” and it’s like “Why would you? That’s part of your perks package.”

    Which leads into the next one which was customizable perks. Different people like different things, and that’s what the whole Apple Green message of just being genuinely interested in the people around you and just offering everyone the same perk – well, that may not apply to me.

    Rachel: Yeah, and when it comes to something like a benefits plan, companies have kept the exact same structure of benefits plan for how many years, and yet culture is changing, and yet tech is changing and all of these things. Well, you kind of need to look at all the different areas of how you run your business, and part of that is your benefits package.

    One thing that I definitely appreciate is that we’re basically given a certain amount of money that we pick as employees how we want to spend it. So we’ve got a few different kind of buckets that we can put that in based on what we think we’re going to be using over the next year. It allows us that freedom to be able to say “Where do I want to spend my money on benefits this year?” Then you know, that happens every year.

    Instead of the pressure being on whether it’s HR or whether it’s management to determine what they think their employees will spend, give them the option. Don’t fight for higher vision care if 80% of your stuff don’t wear glasses, but allowing them that freedom to be able to spend the money the way they need to then, then they will find more value in it, and it probably doesn’t cost the company any more than if they had a standard benefits package anyway.

    John: Definitely. One that they brought up which was interesting was a group called Perk Spot. I guess it’s something where you can get discounts and rebates and entertainment and cars or travel, or it’s something you can use for all kinds of things. So, yes that’s good for people to check out.

    The last one that they brought up really quickly was just education and training, and that’s just investing in your people. I mean, the great quote that I love is someone says “Well, what happens if we invest in these people and train them and then they leave?”, and the response is “Well, what if we don’t and they stay?” I mean, you know, that’s a nightmare.

    You can’t run your business or your firm thinking, “Well, we’re just going to short change these people.” Then you’ll never going to grow, and you’re never going to make that change, and then people are going to want to leave because it shows that you actually don’t care.

    Rachel: So as somebody who’s done a little bit of training – a little bit of training in my past and I definitely love it – I think that something like an accounting conference, for example, does not count as training. Continuing any level of education or training is good for the brain and good for the soul.

    John: Wow! Good for the soul. That’s how you start your Monday right there, everybody. Rachel Fisch. Wow! Thank you guys so much for subscribing on iTunes of Stitcher and leaving a review or just a five-star rating. I really appreciate that. Get out there and share the message with everybody. Thanks so much, Rachel.

    Rachel: Yeah, no problem. My pleasure.

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