Oh boy, I’m off to work!

By admin
21 January 2011

Imagine arriving at work. You drop your toddler at a play group and your dog at a pet daycare centre. Then you go to the gym for an hour. Afterwards you take the lift to your office to start your workday.

At lunchtime you check up on your child then sit down to a meal at a three-star restaurant. If you eat something that doesn’t agree with you there’s no need to panic – you can dash off to a doctor on the premises.

Most employees can only dream of such facilities found primarily at multinationals with headquarters abroad. But anyone lucky enough to be based at Nestlé South Africa’s new state-of-the-art eco-friendly head office in Sandton has access to these amenities.

If they want a quick bite they simply pop into the coffee bar. In the gym there are personal trainers to consult about their fitness. And at the staff store everyone can buy Nestlé products at hugely discounted prices.

The aim is to ensure an employee’s time at work contributes to a healthier, balanced lifestyle which in turn can benefit the company by boosting productivity.

The glass-and-steel building in Anslow Crescent, Bryanston, is a tribute to contemporary architecture and in stark contrast to the company’s previous head office, a face-brick edifice built in the ’80s.

“Our main priority was to ensure the minimum environmental damage and we have openly embraced green technology to reduce the impact of our environmental footprint,” building services manager Jaco Swanepoel says.

The design followed recent research results, among them a study done at the University of San Diego, California, US, that found people who work in an eco-friendly building are more productive than those in a standard building. The findings also showed healthier buildings reduced the amount of sick leave taken.

Over the past two years Nestlé has been on the Sunday Times list of the 100 best companies to work at - Jaco hopes it will soon top the list. “As far as we know we’re the only corporation in South Africa offering our staff all these perks,” he says.

South Africa is catching up with workplaces such as internet search engine Google’s head office in California where dry-cleaning facilities and free meals, from breakfast to supper, are laid on for the 23 000-strong workforce so no one has to spend company time thinking about what to prepare for dinner.

Although it’s too early to tell if Nestlé’s new arrangements will increase productivity and employee satisfaction management is confident it will pay off in the long run.

Get your issue of YOU, 27 January 2011 for more information and photographs.

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