As America struggles to recover from the Great Recession, policymakers are setting their sights on a strategy for future growth based on investing in research, education and innovation to help ensure our country’s continued global economic competitiveness. Against this background, outlined by President Obama in his State of the Union Address, we would be wise to also recognize the benefits that progressive management practices–like workplace flexibility–hold for employers to enhance business performance and retain and motivate key talent.
This was a key message emphasized during the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility last March, and supported by research published by the Council of Economic Advisors, and groups like Corporate Voices for Working Families and the Families and Work Institute (FWI). In fact, according to a recent report on the “Impact of the Recession on Employers,” published by FWI, 77 percent of employers naturally responded to the Great Recession by finding ways to cut or control costs. It is telling to note, however, that most either maintained the workplace flexibility they offered (81 percent) or increased it (13 percent) during the recession.
Clearly, workplace flexibility is a business imperative– a management strategy employers can use to modernize their workplaces to meet the needs of the 21st century workforce.
As Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement said at the March White House Flexibility Forum:
We believe that more workplaces should try to do a better job in meeting the growing needs of their employees and their families. It’s not just the right thing to do, but of course it’s the smart thing to do for the government and for any company that wants to stay competitive.
That is why Corporate Voices launched its national workplace flexibility campaign after the White House Flexibility Forum to create a broader awareness of the positive business and employee benefits of flexibility. This campaign seeks to create the critical momentum needed to expand flexibility within the business community.
A growing number of employers have joined this campaign to recognize the value of workplace flexibility for the success of businesses and working families. Campaign “Business Champions” include: Accenture, Allstate Insurance Company, AOL, Baxter International, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Childrens’ Creative Learning Centers, Cisco Systems, CVS Caremark, Deloitte LLP, Ernst & Young, George Mason University, Knowledge Universe, KPMG, LifeCare, Marriott International, McGladreySM, Merck & Co. Inc., Sodexo and Workplace Options, among others. These businesses have expressed their support for flexibility by signing Corporate Voices’ Statement of Support for Expanding Workplace Flexibility.
Flexibility as a National Priority Highlighted in “Focus on Workplace Flexibility” Blog Series
To maintain the forward momentum for the campaign, Corporate Voices has launched a “Focus on Workplace Flexibility” blog series to provide commentary and analysis on the key demographic and economic trends transforming work and family. This series will illustrate how workplace flexibility can be a catalyst for success for businesses and working families in the 21st century, and what practical tools and resources exist to help employers successfully implement flexibility practices.
- Read the sixth post in the series, “Why Workplace Flexibility Needs the National Spotlight.”
- Read the fifth post in the series, “Overcoming the Implementation Gap: Workplace Flexibility in Action.”
- Read the fourth post in the series, “Creating a Culture of Flexibility.”
- Read the third post in the series, “The Path to Employer Flexibility is Paved with Business Results.”
- Read the second post in the series, “Focus on Workplace Flexibility-The Rise of Older Workers and Caregivers.“
- Read the first post in the series, “Focus on Workplace Flexibility-Main Themes.”
To learn more about this national campaign and about how you can join, please visit Corporate Voices’ website.