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Two-thirds of workers now say it's important to feel as though their fellow employees are part of their family, according to a recent study by staffing firm Randstad North America and market research consultancy RoperASW. "We're finding that people are putting more value on non material things, like family and community," says Joanne Reichardt, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs at Randstad.
What's fueling the trend? "It's part of the post-September 11 reality," says Bill Coleman, a senior vice president at salary.com, a firm that researches employment trends. "People's priorities have shifted, and now employees want more of a familial relationship with coworkers rather than just a pure business one."
Employees are also placing more value on their daily interactions and less emphasis on career advancement. But it's not just the family atmosphere at the office or other work place that people want to develop, it's their bona fide families as well -- and they're looking to employers to support their newfound focus. "Clearly, employees want more family-related benefits -- time off, day care, and flexible work schedules," says Coleman. That explains why, according to the Randstad survey, the number of people putting family first has jumped to 68 percent from 54 percent since 2000.