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?

August 24, 2010


Wired Homes Keep Tabs On Aging Parents

Jennifer Ludden • NPR - Morning Edition • August 24, 2010

“She says a telecaregiver can remind people to take their medication at a certain time. They can alert a relative if someone appears confused or in distress. They can help with the simple tasks of daily life, like the time a client was about to sit down to breakfast. [. . .] No doubt, starring in your own daily reality show won’t appeal to everyone. But there are all kinds of remote monitoring systems popping up to keep tabs on a fast-aging population. Most use sensors placed around the house and alert children to every mundane detail of their parents’ day: when they get in and out of bed, sit on the sofa, open the refrigerator door or turn on the air conditioning.”

Lawmaker touts telework as a win-win situation

Elizabeth Newell, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly • Government Executive • August 23, 2010

“No matter how you look at it, telework is a win-win situation for the federal government and our nation, whether one looks at it in terms of productivity, cost savings, workforce recruitment and retention, reduced pollution and traffic congestion, or quality of life. [. . .] Now, if we could get 20 percent of all Americans to telework one day a week, we could reduce our dependence on Persian Gulf oil imports by up to 48 percent. But we have to move one step at a time.”

The Golden Age of Innovation

Stefan Theil • Newsweek • August 20, 2010

“According to data from the Kauffman Foundation, the highest rate of entrepreneurship in America has shifted to the 55–64 age group, with people over 55 almost twice as likely to found successful companies than those between 20 and 34. And while the entrepreneurship rate has gone up since 1996 in most other age brackets as well, it has actually declined among Americans under 35.  [. . .] Demographic and economic pressures will soon force workers, businesses, and entire economies to rethink certain stereotypes; in a post-recession world, assuming that someone can be phased out due to age will be a luxury no one can afford.”

Book Excerpt: The Corporate Lattice

Cathleen Benko and Molly Anderson • BusinessWeek • August 20, 2010

“Women constitute half of the U.S. workforce and are the primary breadwinners for nearly 40 percent of families. Men in dual-career, dual-caregiver couples now cite more work-life conflict than women do. What’s more, younger generations are bringing different attitudes to work at the same time that older workers are looking for options to stay in the labor market. Almost two-thirds (70 percent) of baby boomers and 92 percent of Millennials cite career-life fit as a top priority. And along almost every dimension, employees are more diverse.  These seismic shifts leave companies struggling to meet the challenges of the changing world of work. They signal the end of traditional assumptions about what it takes to achieve and sustain a high-performance workplace.”


Patterns in Physically Demanding Labor Among Older Workers

Hye Jin Rho • Center for Economic Policy Research •

“Employment in physically demanding jobs or in jobs with difficult working conditions is a major cause of early labor-market exit among older workers. Raising the retirement age is particularly concerning for near-retirement age workers with such jobs. Despite the fact that the retirement age increase is supposed to encourage workers to work longer, many workers would be physically unable to extend work lives in their jobs, and they would most likely be left with no choice but to receive reduced benefits.”


Examining Education and Economics – What ‘Opt Out’ Revolution?

Hua Wang • Glass Hammer • August 24, 2010

“The untold story is that mothers are pushed out of the paid workforce by inflexible workplaces, discrimination, and the lack of public policy to support working families creates challenges for employers and policymakers alike. The key message for employers is that they need to match today’s workplace to today’s workforce. For policymakers, the key message is that working families need greater support and that, without them, U.S. competitiveness in a rapidly globalizing world is at risk.”

When I’m 65…

Nora Caplan-Bricker • Slate • August 23, 2010

“Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to trim the deficit includes raising the retirement age—currently set to climb from 65 to 67 by 2022—to 70. Why was the age set at 65 in the first place?  It was a compromise.”

The Problem of Early Retirement

Bruce Bartlett • Capital Gains and Games • August 22, 2010

“In fact, it really makes no difference when people retire because benefits are actuarially adjusted so that theoretically everyone gets the same lifetime benefits. Indeed, benefits continue to rise 8% per year past the normal retirement age because of something called the delayed retirement credit. Therefore, if the goal is to improve Social Security’s finances, raising the normal retirement age won’t do much good because 62 has become the de facto normal retirement age. We will have to raise the early retirement age if we want to save money this way.”

Worry Isn’t Work

Dan Pallotta • Harvard Business Blogs • August 20, 2010

“It’s OK to take care of yourself. To take time to exercise. By all accounts, exercise improves brain function. It’s OK to eat well, and to slow down enough to eat consciously and appreciate the food. Proper nutrition improves brain function as well. Go on vacation. Meditate. Take a break each week for an hour to see a therapist, or a movie, or stop in a church, if that’s your practice. Sit quietly on your porch in the evening and reflect. Chaining yourself to your desk is no more correlated to productivity than mental self-annihilation.”

Global News

Survey finds most working parents want more family time

Author Unlisted • BBC • August 24, 2010

“Almost two thirds of those questioned believed their work/life balance was ‘not ideal’, said Parenting Across Scotland.  They found that 64% of parents thought their family life was losing out because of work. [. . .] Of the thousand adults surveyed by Ipsos MORI, 77% of those who had children under the age of five said they wanted to work less and spend more time at home.”

“Relationships with employees are important on a number of counts. Companies want to attract and keep the most talented people, and they want to avoid damaging and costly industrial disputes. Enlightened businesses also know they can harvest ideas from the shop floor, and that as the nature of work changes, they will need people’s creative involvement to succeed.”