Categories of Reports:
New and Noteworthy Publications
- Workflex: The Essential Guide to Effective and Flexible Workplaces
How do you get on the path to a better workplace? The Workflex Guide provides the advice and tools employers need to create an effective and flexible workplace. Featuring research-based guidance from a host of workflex experts and case studies from companies that made flexibility work for their workforce and for the bottom line, employers of all shapes and sizes will find it invaluable. The Guide is destined to become the “workflex bible” for a changing, more flexible workplace.
- Workflex: Employee Toolkit
Employees can now take the promise of flexibility at work into their own hands. This Toolkit offers workers a blueprint for making workflex a reality in their careers, and it provides a realistic perspective on what workflex options are possible for the companies that employ them. It features real-world advice and guidance from workplace experts including selfassessment tools, directions on how to ask for workflex and how-to’s on making it work once implemented. It’s a valuable workflex resource for every worker and manager striving for flexibility at work.
National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility
Families and Work Institute has written a series of reports for the National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility, the series of events to build on the message and momentum the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility that took place in March, 2010. This series of events that have taken place in 2010 and 2011 have been organized and hosted by the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor. With support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Ford Foundation, these reports examine the access to, use of, demand for and impact of workplace flexibility in different industries (health care, retail, hospitality/restaurant/tourism, education and manufacturing) and among employees in small organization, who are low-wage/hourly and who are professionals.
- Workplace Flexibility in the United States: A Status Report [1.2 MB]
This status report reviews key findings from topic-specific reports written for the National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility forums, as well as emerging trends in workplace flexibility, common assumptions about flexibility that are not supported by FWI's findings, and the relationship between flexibility and various outcomes. All of the findings in this report are drawn from FWI's two nationally-representative surveys: the National Study of the Changing Workforce and the National Study of Employers. The research shows that the effect of workplace flexibility is significant across a variety of organizational and employment groups, including retail, manufacturing, health services, hotel, tourism, and restaurant industries, as well as low-wage and professional employees and primary and secondary school teachers.
- Workplace Flexibility in Manufacturing Companies [968 KB]
Data from the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce reveal that employees in the manufacturing industry are typically less satisfied and engaged with their jobs than employees in other sectors. They currently have significantly less access to work schedule flexibility. Although it seems like offering flexibility in manufacturing sectors is contradictory, this report offers examples and considerable suggestions of best practices in workplace flexibility that are currently being applied in these sectors. Our study found that offering the flexibility that 80% of manufacturing employees report is very important to them, results in employees who are more satisfied and engaged with their jobs, healthier mentally and physically, and remain with their employers for longer.
- Workplace Flexibility in the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Industry [980 KB]
Flexibility is difficult to obtain in the hospitality, restaurant, and tourism industries (HRT) but it is still necessary and possible. This report, drawn from data in the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce and best practices from winners of the Sloan Awards, helps readers tailor flexibility to each different work place and type within these sectors. After examining demographic data, workplace flexibility options and culture, and subsequent feelings and outcomes in the HRT industries, this report concludes that, since many HRT employees are satisfied with their jobs as only part-time and transitory careers, more flexibility and responsibility would improve retention in these sectors.
- Workplace Flexibility and Low-Wage Employees [152 KB]
Flexibility as it pertains to the low-wage workforce is a topic that is studied less-frequently than flexibility and higher-wage employees. However, in Workplace Flexibility and Low-Wage Employees, FWI finds that while low-wage employees have much less access to many types of flexibility than higher-wage employees, low- and higher-wage employees are equally pressed for time in their personal lives and place equal value on having a flexible workplace. Having greater flexibility on the job substantially reduces differences between low-wage and higher-wage employees in terms of job satisfaction, job engagement, physical and mental health and the likelihood of employees remaining with their current employers. This report explores the extent to which low-wage workers have access to flexibility, the degree to which they use that flexibility, and whether employers who offer flexibility to their low-wage employees benefit from doing so.
- Workplace Flexibility in the Health Services Industry [344 KB]
Using data from the 2008 National Study of Employers and the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce, this study reveals that the health service industry is at the forefront of workplace flexibility implementation. Employers in health services are far more likely than employers in other industries to see flexibility as a business tool rather than a favor or a perk. In addition, they are more likely than employers in other industries to use workplace flexibility to attract highly skilled workers, and they provide much more flexibility than other employers. The study looks at the demographics of workers in the health services industry, the types of jobs they have, their health and wellness, the turnover rates and retirement plans, and employers efforts towards recruitment and retention, to see if flexibility has affected any of these factors. We find that employers in the health services industry have realized that offering workplace flexibility has helped them remain competitive in a fast-paced industry.
- Workplace Flexibility Among Small Employers [2.1 MB]
This report addresses the many assumptions that prevail about workplace flexibility at smaller organizations by answering five key questions about its prevalence, use, demand, ease of accessibility, and its influence on job satisfaction/retention. The study separates small employers (50-499) from larger employers (500+) to better understand where flexibility programs exist and which types of employees have access to them. Using data from both the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce and the 2008 National Study of Employers, researchers determined that there is more workplace flexibility in small organizations than presumed, but less than in larger organizations.
- Retail Industry Employees and Turnover
Despite the belief that retail work allows for easy transitions between jobs, data from 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce reveal that transitioning between employers is not quite so common. Nearly 48% of employees report that they are not "very likely" to find another employer, and indicated that they plan to continue working for the same employer for an average of 11.2 years before looking for change. This report offers an explanation of the initial findings in order to see how intention to change employers varies among retail employees, depending on a variety of different factors and workplace conditions, including several degrees of workplace flexibility.
- Workplace Flexibility Among Professional Employees
In this report, we compare the workplace flexibility options available to professional employees with those available to all other employees in the U.S. workforce. We examine how professionals view working flexibly and highlight differences in demographics and job structures that may account for the ways in which professionals see and use workplace flexibility
options. In addition, we explore significant differences in the flexible work experiences of professional employees by generation.
- Workplace Flexibility Among Elementary and Secondary School Teachers and Other Professionals
This report compares the workplace flexibility options available to elementary and secondary school teachers to professionals in other non-education related industries. It also examines how teachers and other professional employees evaluate their workplace flexibility options and highlights differences in demographics and job structures that may account for the way in which teachers and other professionals view and use their workplace flexibility options.
- Employer Support for the Military Community [956 KB]
Military veterans currently face higher rates of unemployment than the general population. Although many skills gained in the military are applicable to civilian jobs, veterans may not know how to present these skills to potential employers or how to best access channels of support for themselves and their families. Some employers, however, are making a special effort to recruit, retain, and support military veterans. This report reviews data gathered from the 2011 and 2012 Sloan Award and 2012 and 2013 Work Life Legacy Military Award applications, a variety of supports employers are offering to veterans, as well as supports for military families to help them manage the challenges of their relatives' military service.
- Time and Workplace Flexibility [3.1 MB]
Using data from the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce, this report identifies how important flexibility options are to today’s employee. The report focuses on six measures of workplace flexibility and determines how accessible these flexibility options are, who is using them, and how they can bolster both employee job satisfaction and employer productivity. Flexibility options have different outcomes and appeal to varied segments of the employee population; the report addresses these differences by revealing which options are most attractive to various populations and which options influence employee engagement, job satisfaction, and turnover rates.
- The State of Health in the American Workforce: Does Having an Effective Workplace Matter? [2.8 MB]
This study focuses on the decrease in quality of health reported by employees from 2002 to 2008 in the National Study of the Changing Workforce. The report states which health issues have become more pervasive and which demographic groups are most affected. The report identifies the many aspects of health related to workplace outcomes, and identifies which health issues are linked to negative workplace outcomes, such as high turnover and low employee engagement. Finally, the study recommends various policy changes employers can make that will promote employee wellness and, ultimately, result in a more effective workforce.
- The Impact of the Recession on Employers [1.3 MB]
This “snapshot in time” depicts the effect of the Recession in May 2009, based on a random sample of U.S. employers with 50 or more employees. The report finds that over three-quarters of employers (77%) have been forced to respond to the Recession by cutting or controlling costs. Methods used to do so vary based on type of employer and size of the organization. The report examines how employers have helped their employees during the recession, as well as the effect of the recession on workplace flexibility offerings.
- Supporting Entry-Level, Hourly Employees (brief 1) [78 KB]
Supporting Entry-Level, Hourly Employees is a project on low-wage and low-income employees—employees whose earnings fall in the bottom 25 percent of the earnings distribution. The findings, which use data from the 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce, are found in three parts. The first research brief, What do we Know About Entry-Level, Hourly Employees, explores general themes about low-wage employers, such as the demographics of the population and characteristics of their employers.
- How Can Employers Increase the Productivity and Retention of Entry-Level, Hourly Employees? (brief 2) [145 KB]
The second research brief, How Can Employers Increase the Productivity and Retention of the Entry-Level, Hourly Employees, concludes that creating more effective workplaces positively affects low-wage employees as much as or even more than employees with higher incomes.
- What Workplace Flexibility is Available to Entry-Level, Hourly Employees? (brief 3) [78 KB]
The third research brief, What Workplace Flexibility is Available to Entry-Level, Hourly Employees?, reveals that low-income employees have access to fewer flexibility options. Most importantly, flexible options were equally or more beneficial to low-income employees than to employees with higher incomes. Employees with more flexible workplaces were more satisfied with their jobs, and more committed to and engaged in their jobs.
- Overwork in America: When the Way We Work Becomes Too Much [720 KB]
This nationally representative study, released in 2005, looks at changes in the way Americans work and live. The study finds that the fast-paced, global 24/7 economy, the pressures of competition and technology have blurred the traditional boundaries between work life and home life. Furthermore, the new economy called for new skills—skills like responding quickly to competing demands and jumping from task to task. In response, the topic of being overworked had become a hot subject of discussion in workplaces, in the media, in medical journals and in homes. FWI’s goal in conducting the study was to better identify how the ways we work and how we prioritize our lives on and off the job are related to being overworked.
National Study Resources
- 2012 National Study of Employers
The 2012 National Study of Employers (NSE) is the most comprehensive and far-reaching study of the practices, policies, programs and benefits provided by U.S. employers to address the changing needs of today’s workforce and workplace, including workplace flexibility, health care and economic security benefits, caregiving leave and elder care assistance.
- 2008 National Study of Employers
The 2008 National Study of Employers (NSE) introduces factors which can predict flexibility and range of benefits. Size of company, number of union members, number of hourly employees and demographics of employees are examples of factors used as predictors. Employers that are nonprofits tend to offer the widest range of benefits for managing work and personal lives. Employers with more diversity in top positions and large employers also offer more support. Large companies are more likely to provide benefits which have direct costs, like child and elder care assistance.
- The 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce: List of Variables [68 KB]
The 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce is a nationally representative study of employees throughout the nation that asks questions about their physical and mental well-being; access to flexibility, education and healthcare; and general feelings about today’s workplace. The National Study of the Changing Workforce (NSCW) has been conducted in 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2008 by the Families and Work Institute (FWI), based on the Quality of Employment Survey (QES) conducted in 1977 by the U.S. Department of Labor. The study allows us to look at how today’s workers differ from workers of the same age a generation ago, as well as how workers of different generations have changed over time.
- 2005 National Study of Employers [637 KB]
The 2005 National Study of Employers (NSE) studies the prevalence of offered benefits, differences between small and large employers, and significant trends from the 1998 study to 2005. One finding was that small businesses offer more flexibility. For example, significantly more employees of small businesses than of large business change their starting and quitting times on a daily basis.
Bold Ideas Guides
These guides profile promising and innovative practices from the winners of the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility. They have been selected through a rigorous application process that incorporates an employer and employee survey. The winners are a diverse group, representing employers of different sizes, industries, and regions.
A brief profile of each winning employer highlights their bold new ideas for making work “work,” focusing on flexible programs and other initiatives that help make these organizations more effective and successful, both for the employee and for the employer. Taken as a whole, these profiles highlight the many positive business impacts that employers attribute to their flexible and effective workplace practices and culture.
- The 2013 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work "Work"
Co-published by Families and Work Institute and The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This guide contains 352 profiles from the 2011 Sloan Award winners. The introduction, written by FWI President, Ellen Galinsky, and SHRM CEO, Hank Jackson, lays out the top trends in workplace flexibility today. Copies can be purchased through the SHRM Store Online.
- The 2012 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work "Work"
Co-published by Families and Work Institute and The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This guide contains 262 profiles from the 2011 Sloan Award winners.The introduction, written by FWI President, Ellen Galinsky, and SHRM CEO, Hank Jackson, describes some of the most innovative programs in each category of workplace flexibility. This edition also includes a special report on employer support for the military community.
- The 2011 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work "Work"
Co-published by Families and Work Institute and The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This guide contains 425 profiles from the 2009 and 2010 Sloan Award winners that are creating effective and flexible workplaces to make work “work” better for both the bottom line and for employees.
- The 2009 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work "Work"
This guide highlights best practices by the winners of the 2008 Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. This guide includes findings from FWI's 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce. A premise of the national When Work Works initiative is that effective employers are creating new ways to make work “work” for both themselves and their employees. The guide is an easy way to help employers learn from one another and spread good ideas to other companies.
- 2008 Guide to Bold Ideas for Making Work "Work"
The 2008 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work “Work” features the winners of the 2007Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. This edition of the guide highlights how businesses adapt in the face of economic uncertainty. Prominent trends in the findings suggest that successful employers use tenacity, innovation and bold approaches to attract, engage and retain quality employees.
- Making Work "Work": New Ideas from the Winners of the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility (2007)
Published in 2007, this guide highlights the successful flexibility practices of the 2006 Alfred P. Sloan Award Winners. The guide offers insightful stories and tips from managers and employees of winning companies on how companies can use flexible practices to help employees and increase their bottom line. The guide covers different forms of workplace flexibility, five new bold ideas for integrating flexibility, and tips on how to get started.
- The New Male Mystique
The Families and Work Institute’s National Study of the Changing Workforce, a nationally representative study of the U.S. workforce, finds that men now experience more work-family conflict than women. Since that finding was released in 2009, it has generated a great deal of attention and speculation. This paper is the first to take the same data set and conduct an in-depth exploration of the underlying reasons behind men’s rising work-family conflict. In essence, we have uncovered what we term the “new male mystique.” We find that although men live in a society where gender roles have become more egalitarian and where women contribute increasingly to family economic well-being, men have retained the “traditional
male mystique”—the pressure to be the primary financial providers for their families. As such, men who are fathers work longer hours than men the same age who don’t live with a child under 18. However, men are also much more involved in their home lives than men in the past, spending more time with their children and contributing more to the work of caring
for their homes and families. In other words, men are experiencing what women experienced when they first entered the workforce in record numbers—the pressure to “do it all in order to have it all.” We term this the new male mystique.
Read the press release
- A Profile of Young Workers (16-26) in Low-Income Families
Young employees from low-income families are more likely than those from higher-income families to do less well across
a number of metrics including completing high school, receiving postsecondary credentials, being continuously employed,
and having health insurance coverage. These disparate outcomes can have lifelong consequences for both the employees
and for the social support systems that help low-income families. These data present both an immediate need and a societal
opportunity. The government, philanthropic and educational sectors have responded with a number of programs targeting
young low-income employees, many of which center on the education and training of current and prospective employees.
Increasingly, leading businesses are also recognizing that young low-income employees matter to the business bottom line, not just as customers today, but also as a source of present and future talent. This report is intended to enhance these efforts by presenting an aggregate profile of young wage and salaried employees who live in low-income families. This report was prepared for Corporate Voices for Working Families by the Families and Work Institute with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Working in Retirement: A 21st Century Phenomenon
Working in retirement has become an increasingly common practice among Americans over 50. This study, using data from the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce, answers questions about what it means to be “working in retirement,” who is doing so, and why. It identifies differences between workers who are working in retirement and their age-peers who have not yet retired. The study identifies which criteria are indicators of job satisfaction for each of these groups and makes recommendations about how to retain individuals who are working in retirement.
Read the press release and see selected media coverage
- The Elder Care Study: Everyday Realities and Wishes for Change
Elder care is an issue that increasingly affects today’s worker and today’s family. This report uses nationally representative data on the U.S. workforce to examine how much of working caregivers’ time is consumed by elder care, what level of support they receive from employers, and the demographics of this growing population of Americans with simultaneous work and caregiving responsibilities. The quantitative analysis is accompanied by follow-up interviews with caregivers to underscore the complexities of taking care of an elderly loved one—from communicating with health professionals to balancing work responsibilities to dealing with unavoidable changes in the parent-child relationship.
Read the press release and see selected media coverage
- Times Are Changing: Gender and Generation at Work and at Home [2.2 MB]
This is the first study released using data from the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce. The report reveals two striking trends about gender and generation when the study is compared to data from 1992. First, for the first time since questions about responsibility in the workplace have been asked, women and men under 29 years old did not differ in their desire for jobs with more responsibility. Second, the study demonstrates that long-term demographic changes are the driving force behind gender and generational trends at work and at home.
- 2008 Leaders in a Global Economy: Finding the Fit for Top Talent
Using results from surveys of 8,000 senior and pipeline executives from 27 countries, this study looks at what motivates corporate leaders to remain with a company. The study concludes that in order for companies to more successfully recruit and retain talented senior management, they need to consider the job characteristics which corporate leaders value most—having a challenging job, a supportive workplace, and a good fit between life on and off the job.
- Leaders in a Global Economy: Talent Management in European Cultures
The third in the Leaders in a Global Economy series, this report focuses on pipeline and senior leaders in European cultures in order to understand why women have had difficulty ascending to higher leadership positions. Various forces on the current European workforce will likely result in a different workforce in the future. The study examines how common barriers to women’s advancement are perceived by current workplace leaders and how talent management practices can help facilitate women’s advancement in the workforce. Talent management practices are associated with higher engagement of leaders of both genders. Their wide-spread use may contribute to eliminating those barriers women come up against in the workplace.
- Context Matters: Insights About Older Workers from the National Study of the Changing Workforce [1,445 KB]
This report is the first research brief discussing findings from the 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce on the work experiences of men and women 50 years and older. The study found that the employment situation of older workers—small business owners, self-employed workers, and wage and salary employees—significantly affects whether a worker remains or leaves the workforce. The findings of the study imply that in order for employers to recruit and retain older employees they should consider creating work environments that have parallels with self-employment and business ownership situations. This can be achieved through flexible work options, job autonomy, and learning opportunities.
- The Diverse Employment Experiences of Older Men and Women in the Workforce [1,601 KB]
This report compares and contrasts the experiences of men and women in the U.S. workforce who are 50 years old and older. The data in the report is from the 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce. It is important to study the Baby Boomer Generation because it is likely to change our ideas about work and retirement. The study found that older women earn only 55 cents for every dollar that men earn from all hours worked at all jobs. The findings suggest that policy makers should evaluate ways to minimize the impact of the disadvantages that older women may have encountered in the workplace because they may jeopardize their transitions into retirement.
- Generation and Gender in the Workplace [441 KB]
This report explores whether expected differences between generations are indeed supported by data from the 1992, 1997 and 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce, and the 1977 Quality of Employment Survey. Researchers found that members of the baby boomer generation are more likely to be work-centric than other generations while members of the Gen-X and Gen-Y generations are more likely to be either dual- or family-centric. The report also looks at the effects of being dual- or family-centric, people’s drive for job advancement, and how many hours people want to work.
- Tips for Managers: Generation and Gender in the Workplace [53 KB]
This document features tips for managers on how to assuage inter-generational issues based on findings from the Generation & Gender study on older workers in the workplace. Suggestions include developing training programs regarding inter-generational workplace issues, improving general talent development systems, and developing career counseling and monitoring functions in the company.
- Older Employees in the Workforce: A Companion Brief to Generation and Gender in the Workplace [379 KB]
This report is a companion brief to Generation & Gender in the Workplace and investigates workplace issues of older workers and their relationships with younger generations. The report found that despite common stereotypes, mature workers are content with working for younger supervisors. However, other generational differences, like the amount of support workers of each generation feel, may significantly affect the workplace. Employers should be aware of inter-generational issues and take steps to alleviate the tensions.
- Dual-Centric: A New Concept of Work-Life [233 KB]
This report outlines findings from the study Leaders in a Global Economy, which explores how executives manage work and personal life. Researchers found that 61% of the executives surveyed were “work-centric.” However, they also found that 32% were “dual-centric”—they put the same priority on their lives on and off the job. Furthermore, there was no significant gender bias of the executives who made up this group. The study found that being “dual-centric” does not detract from success, and may even lead to overall contentment. The report also provides strategies for being “dual-centric” gathered from personal interviews.
- Leaders in a Global Economy: A Study of Executive Women and Men (2003) [596 KB]
The Leaders in a Global Economy project grew out of the concerns of a group of companies. These companies had already identified the growing need for attracting, developing and retaining women as a key competitive business strategy, and they had been working on doing so for a number of years. Despite their progress, however, they felt there were still many challenges— both subtle and overt—to overcome. They wanted to better understand these challenges on a global basis so they could develop new approaches and strategies to address the advancement of both women and men. The concerns of these companies resulted in a unique partnership and first-time collaboration among three non-profit research organizations: Families and Work Institute, Catalyst, and the Boston College Center for Work & Family.
- Economic Benefits of High-Quality Early Childhood Programs: What Makes the Difference? [214 KB]
Three studies in high-quality early childhood education which began in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s have shown that high quality early childhood education can be seen as an economic investment. This report explores what exactly about these three early childhood education centers made them so beneficial to children and successful as economic investments. The report concludes that in addition to basic necessary characteristics of early childhood education like high teacher-child ratios, the programs were also successful because the program leaders were focused on the growth of the whole child and the regarded the relationship between the teacher and child as central to the child’s learning.
- Sparking Connections Phase II - Part I: Lessons Learned and Recommendations [975 KB]
Family, friend, and neighbor care (FFN) is child care offered by extended family members and unrelated adults. Most FFN caregivers are not licensed but often have significant impact on the children for whom they care. Researchers evaluated the performance of select organizations which address the needs of FFN caregivers. The report recommends that such organizations build upon the core foundations of FNN care. These include: the relationship between the caregiver and child, the family support aspect of the care, and the social and learning networks which can be vitally important to FFN caregivers.
- Eight Lessons for Creating Change that Lasts [144KB]
The mission of Families and Work Institute is to conduct rigorous research on the changing workforce, changing family, and changing community and to share that research to inform policy and practice. To realize our mission, we have spent a considerable amount of time learning how the research we and others conduct can best be translated into awareness and action that “sticks.” One of our most significant organizational “learnings” came as the result of a seminar the Institute co-hosted with the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This seminar brought together architects of effective public awareness and engagement campaigns such as child abuse prevention, environmental protection, smoking cessation, drug abuse prevention and others with leading communications and media experts. This document articulates a series of lessons learned during that seminar on public engagement.