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 9, 2010

Articles

Reassessing Work/Life Balance

Michael O'Brien • Human Resource Executive Online • November 9, 2010

“Widespread layoffs and other job changes associated with the latest recession have caused workers to question career-related sacrifices, including time away from family, less leisure time and fewer self-improvement activities, according to new research from Florida State University. Among the more interesting findings, more than one-third (37 percent) of those surveyed say the recession caused them to think work isn’t as important as it once was ‘in the grand scheme of things,’ and nearly one-quarter (23 percent) say they became more aware of ‘an over-commitment to work at the expense of family and recreation.’”

Moms-to-be often fret about meshing work and pregnancy

Anita Bruzzese • Cincinnati.com, Gannett • November 9, 2010

“Taking maternity leave is often fraught with anxiety for many working women. They wonder how much time off can they afford to take. Will taking longer than the standard six or eight weeks hurt their career?  But in these unsettling economic times, that anxiousness has gotten worse for some women, who fear they may be fired because of their pregnancies or lose their jobs while on maternity leave and be unable to find other positions, says Roberta Matuson, president of Human Resource Solutions in Northampton, Mass.”

Weaving a rewarding career path, no rungs required

Ann Meyer • Chicago Tribune • November 8, 2010

“Increasingly, companies are recognizing that climbing the corporate ladder isn’t a top priority for all employees, said Molly Anderson, director of talent for Deloitte Services LP and co-author with Cathleen Benko of the new book, ‘The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work.’  Instead, many firms are looking for ways to retain and reward high-performing workers who value flexibility, autonomy and personal development.”

Luring Employees to New Locations

Joe Light • Wall Street Journal • November 8, 2010

“With depressed home prices making workers reluctant to relocate, some employers are adjusting their hiring strategies.  Some are opening offices closer to workers, or giving hires more money to cover home-sale losses. Others are letting people stay put and telecommute, or focusing more on local recruits, figuring the lousy job market should yield enough candidates.”

1.2 million people want a job but aren’t looking

Paul Davidson • USA Today • November 8, 2010

“The portion of over-55 workers in the labor force has risen the past decade from about 32% to 40%. Sara Rix, an AARP policy adviser, partly credits older workers’ shrinking 401(k) accounts and higher health care costs.  Yet that labor participation rate has held steady or edged down slightly in the recession as many older Americans, like their younger counterparts, grew discouraged and stopped looking for jobs. Workers 55 and older totaled 335,000, or 27.5%, of all discouraged workers in October, the single-largest demographic group.”

Mother Madness

Erica Jong • Wall Street Journal • November 6, 2010

“Someday ‘attachment parenting’ may be seen as quaint, but today it’s assumed that we can perfect our babies by the way we nurture them. Few of us question the idea, and American mothers and fathers run themselves ragged trying to mold exceptional children. It’s a highly competitive race. No parent wants to be told it all may be for naught, especially, say, a woman lawyer who has quit her firm to raise a child. She is assumed to be pursuing a higher goal, and hard work is supposed to pay off, whether in the office or at home. We dare not question these assumptions.”

Blogs

When Working and Mothering Don’t Mix, Blame Moms

KJ Dell'Antonia • November 8, 2010 • November 8, 2010

“But I’ve never met a woman who changed or left her career to be a perfect parent. The women I know have made compromises after finding too little child care, too little flex time, and too little acceptance of men and women making equal adjustments to their working lives to accomodate young children. To quit or cut back on work on the grounds that one must have time to create one’s own home-grown applesauce would be ridiculous, but does anyone really think that’s why some women step back from their careers when their kids are at their neediest stage?”

It’s Not the Time You Spend but the Result You Produce

Robert C. Pozen and Justin Fox • Harvard Business Review Blogs - The Conversation • November 8, 2010

“How much work is too much? How do you carve out time for family while continuing to be a top performer at the office? In this, the final installment in a seven-part series on personal productivity, Bob Pozen, chairman emeritus of MFS Investment Management and a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, talks to HBR’s Justin Fox about balancing work and life.”

Katie Couric’s Notebook: Sick Waiters

Katie Couric • CBS News - Couric & Co. • November 5, 2010

“The group is pushing for federal legislation that would mandate any business with 15 or more employees to let workers earn at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. That sounds fair… and long overdue.  Sick workers should stay home—for our sake as much as theirs. Fettuccine tastes a whole lot better without an extra sprinkling of germs.”

A Call for Family Meals

Ellen Galinsky • Huffington Post • November 5, 2010

“Our findings show that family meals are not totally an endangered species—but they certainly don’t happen everyday for nearly six in ten employed parents. Among parents with children under 13, 41% report eating together 6-7 times a week, 31% 4-5 times a week, and 38% 0-3 times a week. Not surprisingly, other factors come into play—parents with older children, parents who work longer hours, and parents who work non-daytime shifts eat fewer meals with the entire family.”

Global News

Part 5: Why Sweden pays dads cash to stay home with the kids

Susan Sachs • Globe and Mail, Canada • November 4, 2010

“When it comes to coping with the competing demands of work and family, Canadians already look to Sweden with envy. In recent years, the government has brought in a more flexible workday, made it easier for employees to take sabbaticals to pursue outside interests and launched a campaign to cut absenteeism in half by making the workplace far healthier.  But one measure rises above the others: a cutting-edge approach to paternity leave that is revolutionizing Sweden’s drive to balance the professional and personal lives of its working couples.”