Lifestyle Management & Workplace Concierges

by Apr 27, 2016

Lifestyle Management  – new services for the time poor

It’s been estimated that most people spend between 1.5 and 3 hours of their workday doing personal tasks.  Some of that time is wasted browsing Net-a-Porter, but a fair chunk of it is spent on basic life maintenance: booking doctor’s appointments, buying train tickets, making dinner reservations.  When you’re already at your computer all day, it’s easy to nip over to Expedia and spend thirty minutes looking at hotels.  In a bid to boost productivity, increasing numbers of companies are offering workplace concierge services for their staff.. Is this the answer to lifestyle management?

In theory, a lifestyle management concierge will do anything from ironing your shirts to getting you front-row Rolling Stones tickets – for a price.  In practice, workplace concierges deal with practical tasks which are time-consuming rather than difficult, freeing up employees to focus entirely on work.

Read: Work/life balance now taught at business school

From small law firms to international players like Ernst and Young, companies have decided that the increased efficiency is worth the cost.

Concierge Services – a growing trend

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There are three levels of workplace concierge service.  The cheapest and most popular are the online-only services, where you send an email asking someone for help with a specific task.  Next up are 24/7 telephone lines – if you’ve ever had a premium credit card like a platinum Amex, you’ll be familiar with these.  The largest companies may have on-site concierges, who either have their own desk at the company or visit once a week to take orders.  Costs vary according to the level of service, but most employers pay a flat fee of $3 to $10 per employee per month.

You’d expect concierge services to be the first victims of a financial downturn, but they’ve grown in popularity since the 2008 crash.  In the US, 15% of employers offer some sort of concierge service, up from 4% in 1999.  Nobody needs a workplace concierge if they do 35 hours a week in a low-stress environment. This is an employee benefit that helps to put a positive gloss on the fact that employers now expect their staff to work harder than 5 years ago for less pay.   Like Google’s famous egg-freezing offer for female employees, it’s less of a perk and more of an apology. Read: Frozen eggs don’t address the real issues

 People associate concierges with spoiled oligarchs demanding baths full of Veuve Cliquot or rooms full of white roses.  But they make most of their money doing straightforward tasks for people with more money than time– picking up dry-cleaning, sorting online shopping returns, researching hotels for an upcoming holiday.  Even the super-rich tend to use concierges for pedestrian tasks like finding a home to rent or booking tables at restaurants.

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Change is around the corner for concierges.  Though they may get occasional flamboyant requests, most of what they do is errand-running – the things which you could deal with yourself if you had the time and energy.  Every company has a different pricing model, but you’d expect to pay around $40 for an hour’s service from a concierge.  New websites like Taskrabbit and Fiverr allow you to recruit people to help with basic tasks much more cheaply. Just a few years after the industry began to mushroom, concierge services are already being undercut by more nimble competitors.

Are you time poor? How do you deal with it? Get in touch for more help

 

Alice Bell Contributor
"Alice writes online about business, popular science, and women's lifestyle. After a few years working her way around the world, she has settled in the north of England and taken a day job as a maths teacher. Her life's ambition is to earn enough money to start repaying her student debt."

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