According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Costa Rica has made significant progress in improving the quality of life of its inhabitants. One of these examples is that the health system is within the reach of the majority of the population, added to the various care and prevention policies that have generated positive and sustainable results.
However, despite these good indicators, the country still has the task of ensuring that its citizens have a proper balance between work and personal life. The Index for a Better Life of the OECD, which compares well-being in different countries based on issues that have been identified as essential for the conditions and quality of life, indicates that, in Costa Rica, although 55% of working people (aged 15-64) are in paid employment, 22% work very long hours, higher than the OECD average.
The institution indicates that in Costa Rica, full-time employees spend fewer hours (less than 13.5 hours) of their day on personal care (eating, sleeping, among others) and leisure (social life with friends and family, hobbies, games, computer, and television use) than the OECD average of 15 hours.
Companies must implement strategies to improve the outlook
For this reason, the OECD considers it important that companies can implement strategies in which their employees can live a better and healthier life. “It is not about choosing between my family, my passions or my career. It is striving to make conscious decisions about what and how I spend my time”, explained Karina Vega, purchasing leader at Abbott, a global health company. She added that the company’s collaborative people, work culture and benefits, along with the ability to participate in employees’ networks, have given her the support she needed to be successful in both work and life.
In this context, there are examples of good corporate practices that seek to ensure that people have a work-life balance. Abbott stands out for being a company that seeks to make people’s experience increasingly enriching. “Abbott has always offered me a supportive place to grow and develop professionally”, adds Vega. “Associates feel truly valued because Abbott continually invests in us during every stage of our careers. Abbott engages employees on a deeper level; there are moments when you realize that everyone is human. Collaborators are encouraged to cooperate and we are given the opportunity to find mentors and pursue new ideas. In short, it is an environment that prepares you for success”.
Here are some of Abbott’s practices, focused on the well-being of its staff:
1) Success is about the person- Employees can build their best career, establish financial security and achieve work-life balance for themselves and their families, while doing work they can be proud of.
2) Employee care- They have the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), through which the person and their family can have financial, legal and psychological advice. EAP is to prevent and solve difficulties and/or situations of daily life that can interfere with the personal-work life balance. People who work at Abbott can access the program through phone calls, face-to-face psychological assistance and through the Wellbeing portal; this program is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
3) Tools to enhance skills- They have different programs to enhance the skills of the collaborators. Abbott’s Global Citizen Development program targets people who don’t yet lead a team, but have high potential, and there’s another free program that teaches employees a new language, regardless of business need.