Eudaimonia – December 2018

Have Employee Perks Gone Too Far?

Ping-pong tables, snacks and open and collaborative workspaces have become a cliche in most tech companies. Although these perks are sweet, they are not the reasons why people want to work and continue to work for an organisation.

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According to Jamey Austin, an author of the Atlassian Blog, there are six traits that make for a stand-out workplace:

  • Sense of purpose, that what employees do might be changing the world for the better
  • Risk taking and failing well, meaning smart and calculated risks that result in innovation
  • Culture of discovery, where employees have the opportunities to flex their creative genius
  • Transparency and autonomy, by allowing all employees to self-service their need for information, allowing for a stronger sense of responsibility
  • Flexibility, in the form of remote working and around working hours
  • Open, working together and supporting teammates as human beings

What Those Late Nights Are Costing You

Matthew Walker, a leading neuroscientist and director of the Centre for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, has a goal to understand everything about sleep’s impact from birth to death, in sickness and health. Matthew believes we are in the midst of a “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic.”

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In 1942, less than 8% of the population was surviving on six hours or less sleep. Fast forward to 2017, where one in two people survive on six hours or less of sleep. It is getting harder to get the recommended eight hours of sleep a night. What can this epidemic be ascertained to? Walker says, “light is a profound degrader of our sleep. Second, there is the issue of work: not only the porous borders between when you start and finish, but longer commute times, too. No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead.”

Furthermore, sleep deprivation is increasing the risk of:

  • A heart attack or stroke, with adults aged 45 years or older being 200% more likely for this event to occur, compared to those sleeping eight hours a night
  • Effective control of blood sugar, making individuals more susceptible to weight gain
  • Weakening of the immune system
  • Developing Alzheimer’s disease

Walker states that things have to change, in our communities, homes, families and workplaces.

Walker also has a fascinating two part podcast on ‘Why We Sleep’ which we highly recommend you listen to.

Stanford Brown asks employees about their sleeping habits as part of our Employee Benefits Survey. It is important to identify key health risk specific to your business to put into place program’s to help mitigate these risks.

Employers wishing tackle this issue we have a number of partners who can run sleep seminars and intervention programs we can refer to you.

Time To Use It Or Lose It

The ability to use your extras benefits runs out on December 31st each year. Nicola Breenat CHOICE, a consumer advocacy group, notes that “most people cite extras as one of the main reasons they take out health insurance, so if you are paying for extras cover it’s essential you make the most of your money”.

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Extras insurance pays benefits including optical, dental, physio, podiatry, chiropractic, massage and counselling. To see what benefits you have used this year, request for a annual claims statement from your insurer. You will then be able to make a decision on what benefits you have available to use before the years end.

As an employer, how can you get the word out? Do a shout out to all employees to use their extras or they will lost them.

Work-life Harmony

Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man and the CEO of Amazon, isn’t a fan of the phrase “work-life balance” and neither are we! Bezos believes in maintaining a healthy symmetry within his professional and personal pursuits – viewing them as two integrated parts.

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At Stanford Brown, we believe your work and home lives shouldn’t be compartmentalised, rather reciprocal and integrated. If you are happy at home you will come to work with good energy and vice versa.

Sounds a bit idealistic you might sa, but i would challenge that, while not easy to achieve, the integration usually comes down to the company’s culture. Start with getting the leaders of the business buy-in to this belief, once they start demonstrating it to their teams employees through their actions a cultural shift can be achieved.

There are many resources out there that can help you on this journey, we would be more than happy to help you on this journey.

Your Next Job Interview May Start With A Text

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Employers are constantly looking for ways to grab the attention of potentials workers, save money on managing multiple candidate queries and better manage how they communicate with job seekers. Increasingly, recruiters are adding text-messaging platforms to the hiring process, to coordinate interview logistics and ask initial screening questions. According to Brian Kropp, Vice President for Gartner’s Human Resources, it is “another tool companies can use in a very tight labour market to try to get traction”. Inherent advantages include people most likely responding to text messages than email and allowing for speed in conversational back-and-forth.

Is Your Estate Plan Water Tight?

Estate planning is most often the forgotten part of financial wellbeing. One of the important aspects of Estate planning is to develop a strategy to distribute your assets after you die to the people in your life you wish to receive them. However, it is not this simple and even a well-intended estate plan doesn’t sometimes go to plan.

Sydney man has clawed back $75,000 from his deceased mother’s estate despite her explicit wish in her will that he have no financial benefit. The son took his claim it to the Supreme Court, who ordered the man get a provision of the inheritance against his deceased mothers wishes.

To help educate your employees on the importance of an estate plan, you can run seminars or awareness campaigns as part of your overall financial wellbeing program. To learn more, please reach out to James McFarland at [email protected]

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Photo of the Month

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And Finally….A Vury Murry Chrustmas To You All!

We hope you have enjoyed our eudaimonic ride thus far and are excited for next year. We will be taking a break in January and returning in February. From all of us in the Corporate Employee Benefits team at Stanford Brown, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

And we leave you with this delightful video from one of our favourite clients, Air New Zealand.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Eudaimonia and we’d love to hear your feedback.

James McFarland

Stanford Brown

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