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2012 October 21 Sunday
Employee Perks In The Home

Home services are the new Silicon Valley perk.

Today, Evernote’s 250 employees — every full-time worker, from receptionist to top executive — have their homes cleaned twice a month, free.

It is the latest innovation from Silicon Valley: the employee perk is moving from the office to the home.

As marginal tax rates go back up again I expect this idea to spread, especially in companies with highly skilled and well compensated workforces.

A Stanford kidney specialist used a minivan to rack up favor chits she could call in when she needed help.

In one video, a kidney specialist told a story that shocked the researchers: while she was on maternity leave, she bought a minivan to ferry the children of friends and neighbors to school and sports practices.

I think companies are missing a big opportunity, especially with highly skilled parents of young children, to attract and motivate parents who are having a hard time juggling child care and work. Women especially leave work earlier because child care ends at, say, 6 PM. They've got to get onto the freeway soon enough that even if traffic is slow they'll get there in time. Put a company sponsored child care place close to the office and keep it open until 6:30 or 7 PM and women trying to meet deadlines would work more and stay with that company.

We need governmental and corporate policies aimed at making it easier for smart people to have more kids.

Companies should also enable employees to order stuff from local stores that they can pick up on their way out the door. Order everything they need in the morning or the day before. Delivery vans could bring stuff into corporate lobbies. Employees could pick up their deliveries on the way out (or have stuff delivered to their desks) and avoid extra stops at stores. Make home responsibilities less of a diversion from work.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 October 21 08:12 PM 


Comments
Michael L said at October 22, 2012 7:12 AM:

Southern slave owners also did a lot of supervision of slaves' lives to keep productivity up. Not that there is anything wrong with productivity, but if the white collar employee wants to hire servants, let him do so with his own money from a 3rd party outfit. Why would you want to have people paid by your boss hanging around your home and doing stuff according to your boss's company SOP policy? Or, if you work for the government, according to the government's SOP policy?

bbartlog said at October 22, 2012 4:52 PM:

I find the anecdote about the kidney specialist to be one of the most interesting things about this story. Notice that even though she had (we presume) plenty of money, she ended up trying to build up a favor bank with people of similar status instead in an attempt to secure reciprocal favors. It's like a personal reinvention of tribal society! Paging Marcel Mauss...

Randall Parker said at October 22, 2012 7:58 PM:

Michael L,

The employer can hire those home servants with before-tax money. That's one appeal. Another appeal: the servants get graded over all the houses they work on. There's more effective scoring.

bbartlog,

It makes perfect sense. A woman building up a favor bank with other doctors and other professionals she knows is building up a favor bank with much higher quality people. How smart or conscientious or honest would just any hired domestic worker be? Her kids are valuable. Her home is valuable. She's got to consider that.

Tribal bonds between higher quality people have higher value.

It is all about building up more dependable systems of trust. Employers and employees are in complex relationships with each other involving trust. Colleagues in a profession are too. Staying inside a trust system is lower risk and enables you to entrust others with more of the burdens of doing your life responsibilities.

bbartlog said at October 24, 2012 1:58 PM:

Oh, I agree that it makes sense. Just thought it was very interesting in an everything-old-is-new-again kind of way.


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