MOST people spend at least 40 hours per week at the office, so it is important that they should be happy at work. Research has proved there is a correlation between employee satisfaction and company loyalty.

According to the Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study that was conducted on 32,000 employees across 30 countries, there is a strong connection between how we feel at work and how we perform.

The study findings show that the key factor is a work environment that energises employees by promoting their physical emotional and social well-being.

In the Fortune top 100 list of best companies to work for, Google was ranked first. Its employees rave about the culture and the perks including the bocce courts, the bowling alley and even an eyebrow-shaping service at its New York office.

The SAS Institute, ranked third on the same list, engages its employees in other ways such as giving its employees unlimited sick leave and providing a free health-care centre at the software company’s lushly landscaped campus.

Citi Singapore was awarded Best Employer in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific by AON Hewitt in 2012, in addition to being ranked top in the Banking, Insurance and Financial Services as the Best Employer by graduates.

The company encourages its employees to strike a balance between work and play. It has a social recreational club run by employees and they organise various activities for the nearly 10,000-strong employee base.

Every Thursday, also known as Terrific Thursdays in Citi, activities are organised for staff either during lunchtimes or in the evenings. Events have included a “Gangnam-style” dance class, wine appreciation talks and movie events.

In addition, there is a weekly newsletter featuring discounts on dining, childcare services, retail and travel and information on volunteer opportunities.

Says Mr Fonzarelli Ong, the president of CitiClub, the social recreational club for staff: “Citi’s employees are able to pursue their personal interests at the workplace and this contributes meaningfully to our personal and professional goals. This also reinforces Citi’s commitment to work-life balance.”

Recognition by bosses

Another area that employees consider important is recognition from their employers. Most companies organise a dinner-and-dance at the year-end to thank employees for their hard work and dedication to the organisation.

A Singapore poll conducted in 2011 showed the top three things that people wanted at work, and recognition and praise came in second ahead of money and benefits.

Some companies use innovative ways to say “thank you” to their employees apart from monetary benefits. One example is AdvancedMD CEO Jim Pack, who handwrites his thank-you notes to employees on a $2 bill.

A year-end publicity campaign was conducted at Citi Singapore — “Citi Dazzles, because of you” — to thank employees and recognise their hard work and dedication to the organisation. The campaign consisted of various events including Wish Upon A Star, where employees wrote a message to participating senior managers and had a meal with them, and a Long Service Award lunch for employees who had served the bank for 10 years or more.

Another trend companies are adopting to keep their employees happy is to offer health and wellness activities. Globally at Citi, a fitness regime was introduced, encouraging employees to set fitness goals for themselves. If they exceeded their goals, Citi would donate money to their chosen charity.

In Singapore, the bank encouraged employees to participate in a fitness challenge involving cardiovascular workouts, toning sessions and eating healthily. Pure Fitness and Fitness First also partnered with Citi during this two-week period to give all employees complimentary access to their gyms and yoga centres around the island.

Says Ms Moira Lynam, head of human resources at Citi Singapore: “We also offer monthly treats that include one-hour time off for them to work out, free fruit and Zumba fitness classes.

“We also have our special interest groups such as the running club. We believe such initiatives encourage our employees to stay active and have a healthy work-life balance, which improves their overall well-being.”