To read the full Status Report on Workplace Flexibility: Who has it? Who wants it? What difference does it make?, download as a PDF here. (1.11MB)
Why Workplace Flexibility? Why Now?
(excerpt from A Status Report on Workplace Flexibility: Who has it? Who wants it? What difference does it make?
by Ellen Galinsky*, James T. Bond,* and E. Jeffrey Hill**. Prepared and published with funding from IBM.)
The majority of employed Americans feel deprived of time. According to Families and Work Institute's 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce (NSCW):
- 67 percent of employed parents say they don't have enough time with their children, about the same proportion as 10 years ago.
- 63 percent of married employees say they don't have enough time with their husbands or wives, up from 50 percent in 1992.
- In 2002, the only year in which asked, 55 percent of all employees say they don't have enough time for themselves.
Whole new phrases have entered our vocabularies to describe these feelings-the time crunch, the time bind, the time squeeze, the 24/7 economy and the everytime-everyplace workplace-and social movements to "take back our time" have emerged.
There are many reasons for these feelings of time pressure, but a very significant one is that work hours have increased for many employed Americans over the past 25 years. In comparing the 2002 NSCW with the 1977 Quality of Employment Survey for employees who work 20 or more hours per week,*** we find:
- Men work 49 paid and unpaid hours on average at all jobs or the only job they have, up from 47 hours in 1977.
- The increase in hours worked by women is even larger-women work an average of 43.5 paid and unpaid hours now at all jobs, compared with 39 hours in 1977.
Many of us still think of 40 hours as the standard work week and in fact, it is for many. In 2002, 72 percent of men and 55 percent of women reported that their regularly scheduled work week in their main jobs was 40 hours, with the average being 39.3 hours per week for men and 35 hours for women.
But the reality is that unscheduled hours have been climbing:
- Total paid and unpaid time per week at employees' main jobs is 46 hours in 2002 for men (5 hours more than their regular scheduled hours on average) and 39.8 hours for women (3.8 hours more than their regular schedule).
- Employed parents (defined as having at least one child under 18 living at home half time or more) report working a total of 44 hours a week on average at their main jobs.
- Employed fathers work 48.3 paid and unpaid hours per week at their main jobs. Fathers in dual-earner couples work 49 hours at their main jobs-perhaps surprisingly, even longer hours than fathers in single earner-couples, who work 47.3 hours.
- Employed mothers with a child under 18 work a total of 39.6 paid and unpaid hours on average at their main jobs, virtually the same number of hours as all women.
* Families and Work Institute
** IBM and Brigham Young University
***Note: The QES only surveyed workers who worked 20 hours or more, thus we restrict the sample of the 2002 NSCW to this group when we make comparisons.
To continue reading A Status Report on Workplace Flexibility: Who has it? Who wants it? What difference does it make?, download as a PDF here. (1.11MB)
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