How can Big Companies Offer Good Work-Life Balance to Their Employees?

The typical stereotype I know when working for a big corporation is long hours. Fortunately, some big corporations know how to motivate their employees through various programs which allow them to grow personally and professionally.

Shell get-together event

A relative of mine is working as an Engineer in one of the largest company in the Netherlands. She told me that one of the major perks of working with the company is the ability to ‘customize’ the working hours to best-fit individuals’ needs.

For instance, suppose your minimum work hours for a week is 40. Instead of working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, you can opt for working just 4 days a week, working 10 hours a day.

Not only full-time working arrangements mentioned above, you can also choose to work part-time hours and treated as a full-time employee in term of rights and responsibilities – reducing the work hours from 40 to about 30 hours a week. This is ideal for employees who want more quality time with their family members.

Not only working arrangements, you have access to regular get-together events which include hiking, golfing, and so on.

All focusing toward one goal: So that employee can be more productive by addressing his/her work-life balance.

How can big companies offer stellar work-life balance?

Sure, you may argue that they have all the resources to do so, whereas their smaller counterparts can’t afford to offer. But one thing for sure: Companies who know how to treat their employees win.

Some companies retain their earnings to invest in systems that enable employees to have flexible work arrangement – which may include work-from-home arrangements. They know that when job satisfaction is up, productivity is also up while absenteeism is down.

I don’t know how what Marisa Mayer’s thinking when she ban work from home arrangement, but I’m sure she has every reason to do so; I personally don’t know how such policies will boost job satisfaction, but it surely helps boosting Yahoo! productivity.

Perhaps that’s why Yahoo! is not in the Top 100 list of LinkedIn’s World’s Most
inDemand Employers for 2013, while Google tops the list as the numero uno.

Case study: Shell

Shell is among the world’s largest oil and gas multinational companies. They are dominant – and will continue to be dominant – due to one factor they take seriously: Focusing on their employees’ growth and job satisfaction.

Shell is in LinkedIn’s Top 10 World’s Most inDemand Employers in 2013 (#9,) and the company is among the best rated in Glassdoor.

The highlight of Shell’s upside, according to Glassdoor: Good work-life balance. Other include overseas working opportunities and great working environment.

Not only fostering supportive work environment, Shell also focus on individual’s growth. A great feat for a large company.

One of the highlights of Shell in term of employment is their Graduate Programme, which nurture future leaders with custom development plan, challenging hands-on roles, and comprehensive training/workshops.

Shell’s graduate employment program last between 2 to 5 years, depending on your progress, and when you have ‘graduated’ from the program, you will have the necessary skills to be Shell’s impressive lineup of talented people.


As a big fan of small business, I learn that pursuing your employees’ work-life balance should be every owner’s endeavor. Learn from your bigger counterparts on how to take care your employees better.

I understand that, as a small business, your resource is limited. However, there are many perks you can offer for your employees which can boost their job satisfaction and personal growth – i.e. regular get-together at local eateries, offering flexible working plans during low season, etc.

So, what is your opinion on Shell’s and other big companies’ policies to focus on employees’ work-life balance? What do you think your business should do to pursue the work-life balance of your employees?

Photo credit: Shell