NewsRoundup

The Roundup will be brought to you in July and August by the new Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN), an international membership organization for interdisciplinary work and family academics. The WFRN welcomes the participation of policy makers and practitioners as it seeks to promote knowledge and understanding of work and family issues among the community of global stakeholders. The Roundup is a compilation of the latest news articles, reports and other materials related to workplace flexibility delivered to your inbox on Monday and Thursday. In the fall, the WFRN will launch its new website which will include a News Feed among other features. We hope that you will get involved as a member and by posting the latest news. Questions?

January 8, 2010

Articles

Wittman seeking to take a load off the road

Kelly Hannon • Free Lance-Star, VA • January 7, 2010

“Rep. Rob Wittman, Virginia’s 1st District congressman, has introduced a bill that would give public or private employees who telework at least 75 days a year a tax credit for some work-related expenses.  If the bill becomes law, a tax credit would be available for up to $1,000 for purchases workers made in connection to teleworking, such as buying work furnishings or electronic equipment needed to telework, according to Wittman’s proposed legislation, the Telework Tax Incentive Act.”

My Struggles As A Working Mother

Mika Brzezinski • Forbes • January 7, 2010

“Marriage and work were aligned.  Of course, there were some challenges to keeping both moving along at full speed—and looking back I think I ignored most of them, perhaps on the theory that if I kept moving forward life would surely get easier. I contented myself with the fulfillment of a beautiful relationship, a baby on the way and a job on the rise. Any career snags would have to announce themselves loudly, because I wasn’t about to go looking for them.”

Don't sweat the snow, work from home

Jeffry Scott • Atlanta Journal-Constitution • January 7, 2010

“Snow, maybe as much as two inches of it, was headed for Atlanta Thursday, prompting the usual paroxysms of preparation: airlines canceled flights; crews prepared to salt and sand roads; and companies planned for fewer employees at work Friday if roads are slick and schools closed. But at a few businesses around town, employees were chilling out, not the least worried about the storm because they were already working from home—and planning to work from home Friday as well.  It’s a byproduct of the growth of telecommuting over the years, fueled both by technology that puts corporate software in the palm of a hand and efforts to reduce commuting. Companies that have embraced telecommuting have a built-in contingency plan for bad weather.”

The Disposable Worker

Peter Coy, Michelle Conlin and Moira Herbst • BusinessWeek • January 7, 2010

“You know American workers are in bad shape when a low-paying, no-benefits job is considered a sweet deal. Their situation isn’t likely to improve soon; some economists predict it will be years, not months, before employees regain any semblance of bargaining power. That’s because this recession’s unusual ferocity has accelerated trends—including offshoring, automation, the decline of labor unions’ influence, new management techniques, and regulatory changes—that already had been eroding workers’ economic standing.”

Blogs

1 in 5 Working-Age American Men Don't Have A Job

Shahien Nasiripour • Huffington Post • January 8, 2010

“One in five working-age American men does not have a job, according to the latest federal employment numbers, an all-time low that illustrates the extraordinary toll this recession has taken on male-dominated professions in particular.  Men are more likely to work in sectors like manufacturing and construction that are more sensitive to economic downturns. But this downturn has been particularly brutal on those industries, leading some observers to call it a ‘mancession.’”

Flextime: A Win-Win Green Solution?

Sami Grover • TreeHugger • January 8, 2010

“This week I started working flextime so I can care for my new daughter. Apart from giving Lilia and I ample time to play breakfast on baby—yes, this post was partially an excuse to show off this photo—this new schedule has got me thinking about the environmental advantages of flexible work hours. I already enjoy the environmental and social advantages of telecommuting, so cutting out morning rush hour isn’t an advantage for me. But there’s still plenty to like about flextime. And for once, I think it’s something that most of us can agree on.”

Survey: Why Don't More Women Rise to the Top?

Orit Gadiesh and Julie Coffman • HarvardBusiness.org - The Conversation • January 7, 2010

“The quest for gender parity in the workforce might be the least understood obstacle facing business now. To read recent press accounts, the battle for gender equality in the workplace has been all but won. [. . .] But these statistics mask a problem that companies have made little progress toward solving over the past decade: Women continue to drop out of the workforce in increasing numbers and many don’t seem to find their way back — even when they want to.”

Dodd's 'Pathetic' Family Remark Underscores Political Problem

Mary Kate Cary • U.S. News and World Report - Thomas Jefferson Street Blog • January 7, 2010

“Yesterday, as Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd was announcing that he’s not going to seek re-election after 30 years in office, he said this: ‘Now, there’s nothing more pathetic, in my view, than a politician who announces they’re only leaving public life to spend more time with their family.’”

Poor Little Rich Professional

Liz Kofman • True/Slant - Work.Life • January 6, 2010

“According to a new study in the December issue of the American Sociological Review, workers with more authority, decision-making latitude, skills, and earnings report higher levels of interference between their work and home life.  This seems counter-intuitive. Workers with higher status jobs have more resources at their disposal: paid sick days, emergency savings, perhaps even an assistant or two. Surely, they’re better equipped to deal with other aspects of their lives than a worker who has little to no control over his work schedule or the funds for a reliable babysitter, for example.”

Congress Should Telecommute

Derek Thompson • Atlantic - Business • January 5, 2010

“I’m a huge fan of telecommutes. It’s not that I don’t like being around people. I do, and my colleagues in particular are wonderful. But I can blog from my laptop from anywhere with an Internet connection, my line on the DC metro is a sardine can, and staying on my couch saves over an hour of total travel. In the aggregate, telecommuting is good for conserving office space, good for family time, good for the environment, good for overall travel times (if there are fewer people going to work, the roads are less congested).”

Global News

Gen Y @ 30: charmed, tech savvy and ready to take over

Lorna Edwards • Age, Australia • January 9, 2010

“Charmed as their childhood might have been, they copped their share of bad press growing up. Inter-generational sniping has labelled them as overindulged children who emerged into the workforce as disloyal, high-maintenance employees not prepared to work long hours to get ahead and unable to cope with their first taste of criticism.  But perhaps they have just been misunderstood. They might have their priorities straight in demanding a healthy work-life balance, suggesting that putting in a 60-hour work week should not be a marker for competence.  ‘The concept of the work-life balance for us moving into management-type roles is going to be a given,’ says 29-year-old Kathleen Walker, a corporate sustainability manager.”

'Career women make bad mothers' billboards pulled

Ben Dowell • Guardian, UK • January 6, 2010

“The Outdoor Advertising Association has ordered the withdrawal of controversial billboard ad which read ‘Career women make bad mothers’ following an outcry from working mothers.  The ads, which were part of an OAA campaign designed to promote the effectiveness of billboard advertising, started appearing on the side of buses and on an estimated 11,000 billboard sites this week and were due to run for two weeks in total.”