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?

June 21, 2011


Plight of the Expat Spouse

Tanya Mohn • New York Times • June 20, 2011

“An annual survey of global relocation trends found that 61 percent of companies surveyed expect to transfer more employees in 2011 than in recent years, higher than the historical average of 57 percent. But only 15 percent of spouses employed before going abroad were able to find overseas assignments, about 10 percent less than in 2006. […]The lack of employment opportunities abroad for partners ‘wasn’t as much of a challenge to companies 20 to 30 years ago,’ Mr. Sullivan said, but with the rise in dual-career couples, ‘it’s become a huge issue across the board.’”

Unhappy Workers Stay In Current Jobs, for Now

Joe Light • Wall Street Journal • June 20, 2011

“Only 1.4% of employees voluntarily left their jobs in April, the most recent month for which data are available, down from seasonally adjusted monthly rates of more than 2% before the recession started, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Overall, voluntary turnover is still nearly at its lowest point since the Labor Department began to track it in 2000.”

Work happiness or marriage? You don’t have to choose

Anika Anand • MSNBC • June 20, 2011

“Social psychologists studied 169 newlywed couples over the course of four years and measured their workload, work satisfaction and marital satisfaction.  For couples who didn’t have children, the results were fairly predictable. When husbands had a higher workload, they were happier in their marriage, and so were their wives. […]  But when couples became parents, the roles changed and so did the levels of marriage satisfaction. When husbands became fathers and had a higher workload, their wives were less happy.”

NIOSH WorkLife Becomes Total Worker Health

• Occupational Health and Safety • June 20, 2011

“NIOSH announced that its WorkLife Program is being transformed and renamed Total Worker Health™ […] NIOSH added in its announcement that it and its partners ‘recognize that a multitude of work and non-work related factors influence employees’ safety, health, ability to work, and well-being in every aspect of their lives. Employer concern about the effects of diminished employee health on productivity, absenteeism, and rising health care costs is growing. Therefore, employers are increasingly receptive to a growing body of evidence which provides rationale for addressing health promotion in conjunction with organizational efforts to protect workers and create safe and healthful workplaces.’”

Your vacation is crucial to your health

Evelyn Theiss • Plain Dealer • June 20, 2011

“Among developed nations, the United States ranks last, according to a 2007 report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Most European workers are legally guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days each year; in many countries, it’s typical to have 30 paid work days off. Yet at least one in four U.S. workers does not receive any paid vacation or paid holidays, the institute reported.  Which is alarming, say mental-health experts and doctors. The only thing that is worse: People who have paid vacation time and don’t take it. In recent years, studies have shown that number is higher than ever.”

All Work and No Pay: The Great Speedup

Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery • Mother Jones •

“But now we no longer even acknowledge it—not in blue-collar work, not in white-collar or pink-collar work, not in economics texts, and certainly not in the media […] Now the word we use is ‘productivity,’ […] The not-so-subtle implication is always: Don’t you want to be a productive member of society? Pundits across the political spectrum revel in the fact that US productivity (a.k.a. economic output per hour worked) consistently leads the world. Yes, year after year, Americans wring even more value out of each minute on the job than we did the year before. U-S-A! U-S-A!  Except what’s good for American business isn’t necessarily good for Americans. We’re not just working smarter, but harder. And harder. And harder, to the point where the driver is no longer American industriousness, but something much more predatory.”


What are the pros and cons of working from home?

Eric Ringham • MPR - Today's Question • June 21, 2011

“A two-year project to promote telecommuting and other flexible work environments has found substantial benefits from such arrangements. Today’s Question: What are the pros and cons of working from home?”

Between Mothers and Daughters: Still a Man’s World

Morra Aarons-Mele • Huffington Post • June 21, 2011

“Ellen Galinsky and her daughter Lara are two remarkable women. They led a panel at the Work Life Legacy Awards in New York featuring several remarkable mother daughter pairs. The mothers were super successful career women. The daughters, poised and confident, made it clear they expected nothing less than excellence from their lives. But, being the daughters of mothers who helped drive change within their companies to make work and life fit for employees, the young women were all highly attuned to the pitfalls that lie ahead as they leave their 20s and bump up against the maternal wall.”

Yes, but are we happy?

Brad Harrington • Sloan Work and Family Blog • June 20, 2011

“In recent years, a lot of smart people have begun to pay attention to what would seem a pretty obvious question, ‘Are we happy?’ Suddenly (actually not so suddenly but it is gaining much greater visibility of late) scholars from a whole range of disciplines -economics, psychology, sociology, management, etc. – are paying attention to whether we are getting any happier as time marches on.”

Convince Employees to Work Hard

Christine Perkett • Bloomberg Businessweek - Today's Tip • June 20, 2011

“How can you motivate employees when you don’t have financial resources to inspire them, beyond basic salaries? […]  1. Shove them out the door. It’s a well-known fact that when employees have a happy work/life balance, they are better at both. As a leader, you need to not only say (through a policy or verbally) that you encourage people to keep sensible work hours, but you also need to show them that you mean it.”

Middle-Class Squeeze

Jared Bernstein • On the Economy • June 20, 2011

“Since middle-income men’s wages were stagnant and wives’ were rising, this dynamic helped to keep middle-class incomes from falling, but it also gave deepened the challenge of balancing work and family.  (Note large hours losses for both husbands and wives over the great recession.)  I also look at single moms in the paper, and they too work a lot more over this period—clearly as the sole breadwinner, their work/life balance challenge is a lot harder.”

Global News

What happened to our work-life-balance?

Peter Crush • Guardian • June 18, 2011

“Some might say it’s hardly surprising that if the average person spends 100,000 hours of their lives pursuing a career, this same career starts to define who they are. After all, many people automatically introduce themselves by their job title.  According to recent figures, Britons spend more time toiling than ever. The promise of the work-life balance seems to have all but gone out of the window. But why? And what impact is this having?”