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?

March 16, 2010

Articles

The End of 9-to-5: When Work Time Is Anytime

Jennifer Ludden • NPR - Morning Edition • March 16, 2010

“Hennepin County is practicing what’s called a results-only work environment, or ROWE, which gives everyone in a company the freedom to do their job when and where they want, as long as the work gets done. The state of Minnesota signed a contract for the program last year as part of a campaign to reduce rush hour traffic on 35W in Minneapolis. Nationwide, 3 percent of businesses now say they have a ROWE, though as far as participants here in Hennepin County know, theirs is the first public agency to adopt it. Many are ecstatic at the way it’s working so far.”

Is the virtual office the future? Regus report suggests so.

Kerri Panchuk • Dallas Business Journal • March 16, 2010

“It may seem counterintuitive to consider ‘what employees want’ in a down economy where jobs are hard to find, but employees in a recent Regus-sponsored survey were just as assertive in expressing their view that a flexible work environment is needed to counterbalance stress in today’s office environment.”

More Employers Make Room For Work-Life Balance

Jennifer Ludden • NPR - Morning Edition • March 15, 2010

“First, more and more employers are discovering that loosening the traditionally rigid work schedule pays off. Sleep says her retention rate over 16 years is an astonishing 95 percent. And study after study shows productivity also shoots up. More than half of companies now say they offer flextime, and one-third allow telecommuting at least part-time.”

Perks, job security make firm 'best US employer'

Steven Rosenberg • Boston Globe • March 14, 2010

“SAS — a North Carolina-based company that operates satellite offices in Middleton, Boston, and Cambridge — was named by Fortune Magazine earlier this year as the best company to work for in the United States.  [. . . ] While the company has been consistently profitable — last year its revenues exceeded $2.3 billion, up 2.2 percent from 2008 — it’s the perks, like unlimited sick days, that turn heads. In addition, SAS pays 90 percent of its employees’ health insurance, and offers profit sharing, free gym membership, day care subsidies, offices (the company eschews cubicles), and the opportunity to work from home when needed.”

Nine to Five No More: New Shifts For Labor

Author Unlisted • NPR - Weekend Edition Sunday • March 14, 2010

“Monday on Morning Edition, NPR’s Jennifer Ludden begins a three-part series on efforts to make the workday more flexible. Ludden joins guest host Audie Cornish for a preview.”

The Dropout Economy

Reihan Salam • Time • March 11, 2010

“Work and life will be remixed, as old-style jobs, with long commutes and long hours spent staring at blinking computer screens, vanish thanks to ever increasing productivity levels. New jobs that we can scarcely imagine will take their place, only they’ll tend to be home-based, thus restoring life to bedroom suburbs that today are ghost towns from 9 to 5.”

Blogs

Read This Book If: You Like Finding Easter Eggs

Kelly Bare • New Yorker - Book Bench • March 16, 2010

“Lyrical writing, glowing illustrations, fuel for the imagination, a sense of humor, and, of course, a message: plucky little girl bunnies who defy prejudice and believe in themselves can grow up to become fully actualized lady bunnies who raise smart, happy, kind children and do fulfilling work outside the warren.”

Read This Book If: You Like Finding Easter Eggs

Kelly Bare • New Yorker - Book Bench • March 16, 2010

“Lyrical writing, glowing illustrations, fuel for the imagination, a sense of humor, and, of course, a message: plucky little girl bunnies who defy prejudice and believe in themselves can grow up to become fully actualized lady bunnies who raise smart, happy, kind children and do fulfilling work outside the warren.”

The Unexpected Stay-at-Home Mom

Tina Vasquez • Glass Hammer • March 16, 2010

“The discord of the guilt-ridden working mother has been well documented, but with this crop of laid off moms brings a multitude of new and unfamiliar problems to the table. After years of tormenting themselves over whether or not they should give up their job in order to raise their children full-time, the one-time fantasy has become a reality and for many women, it’s not how they had envisioned it.”

“Like many, I let out a little cheer whenever a mainstream media outlet discusses the realities of managing work and life in our new work+life flex normal.  But I am consistently amazed how the real story is often lost behind the traditional language and mindset that’s not kept pace with reality.  The first segment of NPRs three part series, ‘More Employers Make Room for Work-Life Balance,’ is an interesting case in point.  First let me join the chorus of those high fiving NPR for covering the topic!  It’s important.  But it’s also another missed opportunity to update the way we think about work and life, and position flexibility as a strategic imperative for employers and individuals.”

Reentering the Workforce in a Tough Market

Kimberly Palmer • U.S. News and World Report - Alpha Consumer • March 15, 2010

“In an ideal world, we could leave and enter the workforce according to our own schedules. For some people, that might mean dropping out for a year or two – or longer – after the birth of a child. For others, it might mean taking an extended leave to care for parents in declining health. It might also mean being able to travel around the world for six months, knowing you can return to your full-time employment without penalty.”

Peaceful Revolution: Everyone Is Talking About the Work-Life Equation

Nanette Fondas • Huffington Post • March 15, 2010

“There are other ways to make the workplace more compatible with today’s workers’ lives, including results-only work environments, taking infants to work, redesigning career tracks, and opting for contract work when that is feasible. I have co-authored a book with Joan Blades about these and other ways employers and employees can create what we name a ‘custom fit’ between work and life demands. It will be published on Labor Day, 2010, by Jossey-Bass.”

Time for the Kids? A Teaser and a Bleg

Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers • New York Times - Freakonomics • March 12, 2010

“Today’s parents are spending dramatically more time on childcare than their parents did.  What’s more, this rise has disproportionately occurred among those with the most education.  At least, that’s the conclusion of a provocative and important study that Valerie and Garey Ramey will present at next week’s Brookings Panel on Economic Activity.”

Global News

Leaders jostle in the race to rock bottom

Peter Costello • Sydney Morning Herald - National Times, Australia • March 17, 2010

“Abbott undoubtedly thought he had to say something on International Women’s Day - he keeps being told he needs to appeal more to female voters. So he adopts the Crocodile Dundee approach.  In the movie a New York mugger pulls a switchblade on Mick Dundee. Our hero laughs at the blade ‘That’s not a knife, this is a knife,’ he says as he pulls out his 30-centimetre hunting blade. The terrified mugger disappears into the night.  The point of Abbott’s proposal is to tell the public that Rudd does not have a maternity leave scheme. ‘This is a maternity leave scheme,’ he declares.”

How new markets let women reach the top

Amy Turner • Times, UK • March 14, 2010

“Chanda Kochhar, head of ICICI Bank in India and a mother of two, agrees: ‘We have a whole social network that enables women to manage a family. There is comfort in knowing you have a large joint family and household staff available.’ Hewlett has found evidence to suggest western women are vilified for trying to balance a high-powered career with family life. In Germany she came across a term to describe them, ‘Rabenmutter’, meaning ‘raven mother’ after the bird’s reputation for being neglectful of its young.”