Workplace Flexibility in the News for the Week Ending July 11, 2009

In the News

Survey Names Cornell Great Place to Work (The Ithaca Journal)

Cornell University has been chosen for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of Great Colleges to Work For, based on nearly a dozen measures, including compensation and benefits, confidence in senior leadership, and work-life balance.

Five Reasons To Implement Mobile Solutions (IP Solutions News)

Workplace Flexibility: The personal and business lives of employees are more integrated than ever before. Helping staff achieve greater work/life balance can be achieved by providing employees the option of how or when they work. Bringing wireless mobility to your workplace affords staff with the flexibility to work almost anywhere.

Chronicle Again Recognizes UB Workplace (UB Reporter)

Over the past two years, an HR Transformation Initiative has resulted in many new services for faculty and staff, including new programs focusing on employee wellness and professional development, new divisional HR units, a new Work/Life Balance unit and an expanded Employee Assistance Program.

HR Advice: A flexible workplace has its benefits (Wausau Daily Herald)

Flexible work arrangements are becoming more common in organizations of all sizes, but why should employers implement flexible work arrangements during our current economic downturn? The answer is simple: Successful flexible work programs contribute to increased financial performance.

39% of Moms Make ‘Net Time Their Quiet Time (MarketingVox.com)

Power Mom: Empowered and choosing balance.

  • 80% of moms today feel they have more power and control over their lives than moms in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • 50% of working moms have sought out workplace flexibility to help care for their family.
  • One in five moms in the survey plan to off-ramp and then re-enter the workforce later.

Plymouth State U Honored as a Good Place to Work (WBZ.com)

Plymouth state was listed in the top ten medium-sized schools in categories including retirement plans; collaborative governance; disability, health and life insurance; and overall satisfaction with benefits. It also was listed for respect and appreciation and work/life balance

Memo to the Obamas on a Family-Friendly White House (About.com)

Barack and Michelle Obama have said work-life balance is a priority for their administration. But a New York Times article this weekend exposed the reality of life for top White House staffers who are also working parents: missed bedtimes, delayed school visits and strained marriages.

Family Friendly (GovernmentExecutive.com)

The New York Times reports that White House appointees are having a hard time maintaining their work-life balance, despite the fact that they’ve been assigned laptops so they can work from home, and that the Obama administration is trying to be considerate, doing things like hosting screenings of family-oriented movies so parents can bring their children to work.

Quinn Emanuel’s Susan Estrich Redefines Multitasking (The AM Law Daily)

When I started out, there were law firms that literally said, “We filled our woman’s spot already.” They had just one spot! But today, I don’t think the law culture cares about race, religion, or gender. The problem for women today is workload. The enormous difficulty is finding balance in a profession that is so hours-driven. It’s hard for a woman to figure out, in the 2,500 hours they have to bill, when they’ve got time to have a child. I could not possibly have done all I’m doing now ten years ago, because I had small children then. But my kids are in high school and college now, so it’s easier.

Mandating Employee Leave (Human Resource Executive Online)

“We just have a different approach to getting to that goal [of paid leave], and that is what we rolled out with our 21st century workplace-flexibility policy,” says Horn. That SHRM policy emphasizes the importance of offering paid time off for employees without requiring employers to adhere to potentially conflicting federal, state and sometimes local leave requirements, says Horn. “The whole coordination issue is something that our members report is a significant challenge already,” she says.

Gettysburg College Takes Work-Life Balance Seriously (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Many other features make Gettysburg a nice place to work, employees here say. They like its new $2-million child-care center and the college’s generous maternity and paternity-leave benefits. The campus is a comfortable place, where the faculty, staff, and administrators gather for what’s known as the Friday afternoon social hour to eat, drink, and talk. It is the kind of place where people tend to come to work and stay for a long time.

Firms more open to mobile-device usage among workers (SiliconRepublic.com, Ireland)

A survey of 1,000 office workers in the UK found that 40pc of people believe a mobile phone gives colleagues flexible working options and one-third believe it makes them more efficient.

Study Shows Malaysians Prefer Balance In Work And Life (Bernama.com, Malaysia)

“Many employees now have the capability to work from home or away from the office, at any hour of the day, and this is proving positive for productivity and work-life balance,” Norman said. “Even though some are working longer hours, this is largely offset by the greater freedom and flexibility of the virtual workplace,” she said.

Study Highlights Gloomy Prospects for Graduates (The Independent, UK)

“Organisations which create a ‘misery culture’ for graduates by stifling innovation and progression or ignoring work/life balance risk losing their best talent as soon as there is any sign of an economic upturn.”

Communication tech balances work-life: Survey (Business Standard, India)

More than 90 per cent of Indian respondents say mobile technology such as smartphones and laptops have boosted personal productivity and transformed their work-life balance, according to the latest Kelly Global Workforce Index that reveals opinions about work and workplace from a generational viewpoint. “The explosion of mobile devices is helping create a much more flexible and adaptable workforce and one that is more productive…”

In the Blogs

Mea Culpa (Life Meets Work blog)

As the study quite correctly points out, the flexibility focus to date has been on management and professional workers, and relatively little attention has gone to how flexibility can work for lower wage employees. These hourly work environments are commonly production or service businesses where constant coverage is required. The obvious hurdle, then, is figuring out how to offer flexibility when you absolutely need constant physical presence. This report shares several ways companies are making it happen—through team coverage arrangements, the use of vacation time in hourly increments, just-in-time vacations, and time-off vouchers.

The Changing Nature of Work (Perspectives on Innovation)

The profound implication is this: I believe an enormous increase in national and global productivity comes from getting this model right in the next 10 to 20 years. People work on projects for which they are passionate and capable (driving up productivity many fold) and maintain a work/life balance never before possible and organizations achieve their goals better, faster, and more cost effectively than ever before possible. I have to confess that I also find certain poetry in the idea that what is good for us individually may also be what is good for us all. I believe this is the proverbial “win-win”. But make no mistake, the individual has more leverage and flexibility in the equation than ever before.

Corporate Voices: Creating Opportunities for Low-Wage Workers (Corporate Voices for Working Families blog)

John Wilcox, Vice President of Operations with Corporate Voices for Working Families, participated in a panel discussion Wednesday, July 8, that examined research findings and current issues involving low-wage workers and flexible work arrangements

Low Wage Schedules and the Child-Care Struggle (The Early Ed Watch Blog)

But getting employers to offer more flexible policies and work arrangements is important too. The forum’s panelists talked about a few companies, such as Bright Horizons Child Care Center, that actually improve their bottom lines when they offer more flexibility to their employees. Also noted was the CitiSales study, led by Jennifer Swanberg at the University of Kentucky, that showed how companies can thrive and improve the quality of life for their low-wage workers.

The Truth About Part-Time Work (The Mama Bee)

A few things worry me about this kind of fluffy reporting on women and work. First, articles like Abboud’s and the recent media around Womenomics, promote the idea that if women request high-level part-time solutions they will be granted. That’s not borne out by statistics and I don’t think it’s true.

To Become a Working Mom or Not (Graco heart-t0-heart blog)

And to all working moms – I think it’s important to find solace and wonder in not seeking balance. Balance in its definition is about always working against one aspect of your life. Imagine the idea of having to balance on a board for a long period of time? It’s painful to imagine. So why would we encourage that for anyone? Instead…my husband has said ‘be 100% present and happy’ in everything you do. He’s right! So I seek PRESENCE & HAPPINESS in my two roles of:
Working Professional Woman and Loving Wife & Mother.

A four-step program for work-life balance (Intake)

For example, telecommuting is a hot topic among employees and employers. Flexible work schedules are music to the ears of many employees, especially the wired Gen Y employee who can be as efficient (maybe more) at home using the Internet, intranet, Twitter, texting, phone, webinars and instant messaging to stay in touch with colleagues. More and more companies are jumping on the work-life train, but here are four questions to consider if you want your program to work:

Costa Rica Is the Happiest Place on the Planet (Examiner.com)

Professor Mariano Rojas, a Costa Rican economist at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Mexico indicates several additional reasons for the life satisfaction in Costa Rica. Professor Rojas points out people have a solid social network of friends, families and neighborhoods which is allowed by a sensible work-life balance. There is equal treatment of women and strong political participation in the country.

Interview with SHRM’s China Gorman: Workplace flexibility (Radiant Veracity)

We need a system that doesn’t require all this regulation. If you say that you can’t be here next Friday, do I really care why? No. I just need to know how we’re going to get all your work one. It’s about balancing in a really respectful way. A federal government mandated, one-size-fits-all approach…that’s just not how people work anymore.

They Say White House Not Family Friendly (Strollerderby)

You know something? I’m OK with that. Not that it isn’t hard for the people who work there, or for their families. But these are CHOICES. Nobody forced them to take the job. Nobody twisted their arm. (As far as I know. Let the conspiracy theories begin.) Emanuel talks about the great opportunity to work for a President. Well, yes. It is. And if you CHOSE to do something else, that would be fine. It’s possible that you can’t have everything. Sucks to be you.

Work-Life Balance and Workforce Management (Versatility 4)

When demands of work leaves little time for important areas of life like family, children, friends and hobbies, work-life balance gets upset. The result can be felt in employee health, levels of stress, marriage, problem children, low work performance, absenteeism and so on. Achieving better work life balance requires both employee training and employer orientation changes.

Portrait of making politics a family-friendly career choice in White House (Writes Like She Talks)

This act – call it balancing, juggling, life, whatever you want – isn’t going to go away, but the fact that this article portrays as many fathers as it does mothers, and without obvious gender slanted language or interpretation (did you see any? I will have to re-read more analytically for that) is encouraging.

Entrepreneurs Celebrate Independence Day (Startup Professionals Musings)

According to an article and poll by Startups.co.uk, having the independence to make your own decisions is considered the key benefit of being an entrepreneur. Nearly 90% of respondents said decision-making freedom was very important, closely followed by more flexibility for a better work/life balance.

4th of July and Generation ‘Y’ (Feed Me I’m Cranky)

You’re right. We do want a work-life balance. Does this mean there is no more company loyalty? Not at all. This means we understand that to be “good workers” we need to live balanced lives.

Press Releases

Career Life Connection News and Events

Small Business Expo and Career Fair, May 21, Quincy, MA

Leanne Chase of Career Life Connection to speak on Social Networking: Linked In, Facebook and Twitter

Career Life Connection Founder featured on Workplace Flexibility teleseminar

Flexibility Isn’t All About Mommies: Why Flex is a Cross-Generational and Gender-Neutral Issue; summary of teleseminar discussion on Workplace Flex.

Advice Isn’t Always Good For You (MSNBC)

Leanne Chase, president of Career Life Connection, was excited about attending a SCORE meeting in Boston, but didn’t end up with much help. Despite that, she plans on attending again next week.

New Nanny Math (Forbes)

Leanne Chase, 40, mother of a 3-year-old and owner of a business, Career Life Connection,

Twitters Work-Life Balance Tips (BusinessWeek.com)

It takes many villages – 1 at home to help with family life, 1 at work to fill in as needed, 1 full of friends to keep you sane #worklife

Career Life Connection on You Tube

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