The Future of Work-Life Balance and Workplace Flexibility Roundtable Discussion
The current workforce is overwhelmed with challenges that continue to threaten work-life balance. Employees are working more, earning less, and have less time for family and activities outside of the workplace. Women, who currently make up 50% of the workforce, are experiencing increases in the time spent multi-tasking and reporting increased levels of stress and irritation. On Thursday May 11, the New America Foundation hosted a roundtable entitled, “The Future of Work-Life Balance and Workplace Flexibility.” The panel, moderated by David Gray, Director, Workforce and Family Program, New America Foundation, included presentations from Heather Boushey, Center for American Progress; Kathleen Christensen, PhD, Director, Workplace, Work Force, and Working Families Program, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; Katie Corrigan, Director, Workplace Flexibility 2010; and Mike Aitken, Director of Governmental Affairs, Society for Human Resource Management. On the heels of the groundbreaking White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility (March 31, 2010), presenters posed the question, “What’s next?”
Presenters discussed issues facing employees such as dual-earner families, increased workload, extended work hours, and decreased personal/family time off. A number of options for employers to address challenges that threaten work-life balance included telework arrangements, flexible work schedules/compressed work-weeks, and paid time-off, to name a few. Presenters concluded that it is important for employers to understand the benefits of workforce flexibility for employees and businesses; increased productivity, and reduced absenteeism positively impact a company’s/organization’s bottom-line.
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