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The work/life balance; is it possible?

Who hasn’t dreamed of never having clothes to iron, a car to wash or appointments to make?

What if this dream came true?

Companies like Peugeot Citroen and L’Oreal are increasingly using more and more services to help employees in their everyday tasks. They are supplying concierge services, such as washing a car, ironing clothes or shopping deliveries.

This concierge service originated in the US and has spread to other countries, with companies such as Concierge and Head Concierge.

The primary goal is obviously to free employees from their domestic tasks and to remove some stress, but there are also advantages for the companies.

Indeed, since when does a company feel concerned about an employee’s happiness when it comes to clothes being ironed? In fact, everyone benefits. By helping employees in their domestic chores, the company can combat stress and absenteeism, two problems which are really expensive.

Company crèches are on the rise; again the benefits are twofold. For the employee/parent, it means they don’t have to travel to a nursery and operate on its time frames, but the company can also ensure an employee’s punctuality, eradicating morning lateness or premature departures.

So these concierge services help to partly resolve one of the most important problems in the current workplace; the balance between private and professional lives.

Stress at work is a major issue for companies and this balance between private life and professional life is an important area.

So it sounds good, but there is always a potential downside.

By freeing up their employees, companies have more lassitude in terms of working hours. If baby is at work, why not organise a meeting at 6pm?

An other pernicious effect is the difference between companies. The use of these services is really expensive and not everyone can afford it. There are some alternative solutions for smaller companies, but it takes a lot of willing and effort.

These concierge companies are on the rise; they help a company’s reputation and employees will look those that offer this sort of kindness.

Indeed, those under 30 are increasingly sensitive to their well-being at work and companies need to adapt to the wishes of the future.

The question really is one about the work/life balance. Increasingly the boundaries are being blurred.

So a company can get our dry cleaning sorted, make a few appointments, but in return, it probably expects you to answer emails at midnight, at home.

These services offer an obvious upside, but we need to tread carefully. I can’t see a company offering to organise your kid’s third birthday party on a Sunday.

Mylene Grellier

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