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?

November 30, 2010

Articles

Google Grows, and Works to Retain Nimble Minds

Claire Cain Miller • New York Times • November 28, 2010

“From the beginning, Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have tried to prevent atrophy. That is one reason Google gives everyone time — called 20 percent time at the company — to work on their own projects. The company tries to limit groups of engineers working on projects to 10.”

Good reasons to be uneasy about retirement security

Ezra Klein • Washington Post • November 27, 2010

“And the problem involves more than just pensions. If we want seniors to work longer, we’re going to have to think harder about why so many don’t. Age discrimination is often part of it, and so, too, is physical exhaustion among those with manual jobs. Many experts suggest that the typical retirement - where you go from working one day to not working the next - could be replaced by partial retirement, where workers move to more flexible, part-time arrangements as they get older.”

When Work Calls, Holidays Put on Hold

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal • November 24, 2010

“Holiday priorities are undergoing an overhaul as Americans who lost jobs in the recession slowly return to work. Since many have taken temp jobs with weekend hours or holiday shifts, families are finding new ways to celebrate the season—splitting family gatherings into mini-celebrations, rescheduling feasts, delegating shopping to relatives or even moving holiday festivities to the office.”

Unemployment’s Effect on Physical and Mental Health

• PBS Nightly Business Report • November 23, 2010

“PRATT: Beyond the money, joblessness can have profound effects on health, families and marriages. The Center for Work Life Policy in New York City is examining college-educated members of generation X. It includes people ages 32 to 45. Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlet says this group feels stalled in their careers because so many baby boomers are still in the workforce, thanks to the recession. She says the somewhat surprising result is that 43 percent of generation X college-educated women do not have children.”

The Value of a True Lunch Break

Katy Marquardt • U.S. News and World Report • November 23, 2010

“The days of workers stepping out of the office for a leisurely midday meal apparently have vanished, except perhaps in Hollywood portrayals. A recent poll by Manpower found that fewer than half of employees leave their desks for lunch each day. Yet not taking a break can be counterproductive, sapping your energy and lowering your productivity. It also can lead to higher stress levels and, as a result, poorer health.”

Events

Family Security Insurance: A New Foundation for Economic Security

• Workplace Flexibility 2010 and Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security • December 2, 2010

“On Thursday, December 2, … Workplace Flexibility 2010 and the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security…will release a new report entitled, “Family Security Insurance:  A New Foundation for Economic Security.”  The report provides a blueprint for establishing and financing a new national insurance program to provide wage replacement for time off for health and caregiving needs.”

Location: National Press Club – First Amendment Lounge
Time:  9:00 AM

Leading by Example: Workplace Flexibility

• New America Foundation and the Work-Life Policy Unit of Arizona State University • December 1, 2010

“Join the New America Foundation and the Work-Life Policy Unit at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law for an event to highlight state and local workplace flexibility practices.  A distinguished panel of experts will explore the benefits, challenges, and opportunities workplace flexibility offers to state and local governments as they strive to be employers-of-choice, and how such flexibility policy can inform debate on Capitol Hill.”

Blogs

IBM’s Ted Childs Grades Corporate America on Workplace Flexibility

Katherine Lewis • Katherine's Working Moms Blog • November 30, 2010

“Ted Childs, who made IBM famous for flexible work as head of global diversity, said corporate America only wins a C or D grade when it comes to workplace flexibility. Companies shouldn’t be winning awards for having elder care, child care and flexible policies; those benefits should be the minimum requirement to be a contender in competitions that name the best employers, he told last night’s opening session of the Focus on Flexibility conference in Washington D.C.”

Exhausted? Time to Pace the Work-Life Marathon

Kathleen E. Christensen • Huffington Post • November 29, 2010

“No American should ever feel the need to choose between work and family. And no business should ever lose an employee because they don’t have the tools to put workplace flexibility practices into place. The time has come for all of us—employers, workers and politicians alike—to focus on making workplace flexibility a reality for everyone.”

Being Happy in a Sad Place

Michael Powell • New York Times - Economix • November 29, 2010

“As the paper notes, economists’ conventional wisdom has long held there is no relationship between economic growth and subjective well-being.  Not so, argue economists Daniel Sacks, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, all of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. ‘We present evidence,’ they write, ‘that well-being rises with absolute income, period.’  This happiness trend knows no boundary of nation and culture — happiness is related to per capita gross domestic product in 69 nations. And fast-growing societies tend to be happier than stagnant nations, even if the latter have a higher standard of living.”

GOP wants greater oversight of telework bill

Gautham Nagesh • Hill - Hillicon Valley • November 27, 2010

“Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who is expected to take over as chairman of the House Oversight Committee in the next Congress, has said he plans to work to restore some of the oversight provisions that were cut by the Senate. Issa said he supports the goal of increasing telework for federal workers but thinks the current bill create too much additional bureaucracy without preventing potential abuse.”

How I Hailed Cab and Learned to Help Older Workers Find a Job

Cali Williams Yost • Fast Company - Expert Blog • November 22, 2010

“What can we do right now to help people over 55 years old find and keep jobs? I’ve pondered this question since the economic downturn transformed the work+life fit reality of older workers, radically and permanently. Almost overnight, many later-in-life employees were forced into the job market without the know-how to find and compete for scarce opportunities while decimated portfolios changed their retirement expectations. They want to work but countless numbers struggle to find and keep a job.”

Global News

Welfare revamp to push single parents to work

Simon Collins • New Zealand Herald • November 25, 2010

“Sole parents could be required to look for work when their youngest children turn 3, or even 1 - both much tougher than the requirement introduced two months ago to look for work when their youngest children turn 6. [. . .] The group also suggests increasing the current five days a year of statutory paid sick leave to give employers an incentive to keep their workers healthy and help them back to work quickly if they get sick.”

‘Triple crunch’ will see lower middle class £720 a year worse off

Randeep Ramesh • Guardian, UK • November 25, 2010

“The report says the squeezed middle represents one in three of the working-age population and is especially financially vulnerable as the country prepares to enter economically turbulent times.  Over half of families in this category have less than a month’s income in savings. In surveys more than half of lower-to-middle income households say they already struggle to meet day-to-day household bills.”