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?

October 5, 2010

Articles

Do Your Employees Feel Overworked?

Marcus Erb • Entrepreneur • October 5, 2010

“As the economy continues to recover, many workforces have reached new peaks of productivity. At the best workplaces, this effort is matched by a healthy and sustainable level of stress. Among employees at these organizations, 89 percent report looking forward to coming to work, and 88 percent say their workplace is psychologically and emotionally healthy. These positive experiences suggest leaders of the best workplaces are poised to sustain their productivity gains well into the future.”

Distracted Workers Cost U.S. Businesses $650 Billion a Year

Ned Smith • BusinessNewsDaily • October 5, 2010

“Is that handheld device you bring to the office a toy or a productive business tool? It all depends on whether you’re a focused user or a distracted abuser, according to a new survey.  And there are plenty of the latter, a new survey by Workplace Options, a provider of work-life services for employees, found. More than half the workers polled (53 percent) reported that distractions in the workplace affect their productivity. Those distractions cost American businesses an estimated $650 billion annually, survey co-author Jonathan Spira said.”

Time to own up: Paid sick days make sense

Ellen Bravo • Journal Sentinel, WI • October 2, 2010

“Unable to defeat a ballot measure in 2008 in support of paid sick days, passed by nearly 70% of the electorate, MMAC took to the courts. The organization has tried to convince business owners that paid sick days would be a monster of a wolf, wreaking havoc on our fair city. And now it’s asking businesses to raise a boatload of money as well.  But this wolf, like the one in the fairy tale, turns out to be fake.”

Mark Zuckerberg’s Most Valuable Friend

Miguel Helft • October 2, 2010 • October 2, 2010

“Ms. Sandberg earned a reputation for mentoring many younger employees — especially women, encouraging many of them not to shy away from important roles simply because they were planning to start families. Ms. Sandberg can speak to that topic from experience: she is married to Dave Goldberg, the chief executive of SurveyMonkey, a maker of software for online surveys, and the couple have two young children.”

Blogs

Women in Charge: The Next Critical Step for Work/Life Progress

Melissa J. Anderson • Glass Hammer • October 5, 2010

“We need to make some changes. First of all, we need to stop the current piecemeal approach to gender equality. Work/life issues are not separate from pipeline issues. Are not separate from succession planning issues. Are not separate from promotion issues.”

Accidental Breadwinners

Liza Mundy • Slate - XX Factor • October 4, 2010

“The Great Recession may be over—officially—but its deep and lasting impact on American families becomes clearer with each new set of statistics published. Recently we learned that as of last year, the number of Americans living in poverty was higher than it’s been in half a century. Today, a paper is being released which suggests that those households lucky enough to have weathered the recession with roofs over their heads and food on the table may have one family member in particular to thank for it. Wives.”

What Is The Future of Work?

Mandy Garner • Technorati • October 4, 2010

“Study after study shows the business case for flexible working. It cuts absence rates, reduces recruitment costs, increases staff motivation and productivity and, if we are talking about homeworking, reduces office overheads. That’s just for starters. For employees, it cuts out unnecessary time spent commuting and allows people to have a better work-life balance.  That’s why the leading companies are forging ahead with promoting flexible working and ensuring it is central to the way they work.”

Taking leave

Felix Salmon • Reuters - Felix Salmon • October 3, 2010

“More generally, having employees take time off from work is a good thing for employers — to the point at which most financial-services companies have compulsory-leave policies. It’s worth remembering that almost all workers in the US get 104 days of paid leave per year just from getting weekends off alone: those two days are hugely valuable and necessary to prevent burnout. [. . .] My feeling is that the less paid vacation you have, the less vacation you’ll take. And the less vacation a company’s employees take, the higher the risk of that company falling apart through burnout or blowup.”

For Women, Pay Gap Means Retirement Shortfall

Catey Hill • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • October 1, 2010

“Add these sobering stats to the fact that women live longer than men, and thus need moreretirement savings, and that they tend to stay in the workforce for 13 fewer years than men do (often because they are taking care of their children), and you’ll realize just how big of a problem women may face. Indeed, part of the juggle for many families includes moms staying home to care for the kids for some period of time. That means taking time away from their careers and likely falling short on retirement savings.”

Global News

Key to being happy may not be in genes but in your choices

Amy Corderoy • Sydney Morning Herald, Australia • October 5, 2010

“The study, the first to track happiness over a long period, followed 60,000 Germans for up to 25 years.  Over the long-term, happiness was variable, and depended on the life goals and choices of the individual.  People who prioritised their relationship with their partner and children were happier than those interested in career or material success, as were those with altruistic goals such as helping people or being involved in social or political activities.  Working shorter hours did not necessarily lead to happiness, but working a lot more or less than they wanted made people very unhappy.”

China’s Mandatory Vacation, With a Catch

Andrew Jacobs • New York Times • October 1, 2010

“According to a government-mandated holiday schedule that took effect in 2008, workers were given three consecutive days off last week for the Mid-Autumn Festival, but they were required to make up two of those by working the Saturday and Sunday on either end of the holiday.  This give-and-take arrangement is then repeated for the National Day holiday, with employees enjoying seven straight days off — Friday through Oct. 7 — except only three of those are official free days. (The four “gifted days” will be made up over the weekends before and after.)”

Stuck in the rush-hour of life

Simon Kuper • Financial Times • October 1, 2010

This article examines current career trajectories and the long-term consequences of a temporary exit from the workforce.