In Silicon Valley, Perks Now Begin at Home - NYTimes.com.  

Stanford School of Medicine is piloting a project to provide doctors with housecleaning and in-home dinner delivery. Genentech offers take-home dinners and helps employees find last-minute baby sitters when a child is too sick to go to school. Hannah Valantine, a cardiologist, professor and associate dean at the Stanford School of Medicine, said the university’s experiment with helping out at home was part of a broader effort to support doctors, given their hyperkinetic pace of life.

The New York Times Reports this weekend on the new perks avant garde Silicon Valley companies give employees. Companies, like Stanford Hospital, are experimenting with things aimed at increasing work-life balance.

Why?

Because happier employees are better employees.

And the goal is not just to reduce stress for employees, but for their families, too. If the companies succeed, the thinking goes, they will minimize distractions and sources of tension that can inhibit focus and creativity.

And in healthcare, we have a problem.

According to lead author Jeannie Cimiotti, more than a third of the nurses in the study said they had an emotional exhaustion score of 27 or greater on the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey, which is the equivalent of being “burned out.” Healthcare Finance News, 2012

I’m intrigued by the inspired approach companies like Evernote, Facebook and Stanford Hospital are taking to reduce burnout and improve “work-life integration.” This definitely fits my goal of working smarter, not harder.

The caveat would be in having companies remove so many life-related chores, employees feel free to work around the clock. I think we are safely a long way from there.