Welcome to our 20th Anniversary

Welcome to our blog. I hope this website provides new resources and ideas for professionals who work in the work life field. I hope it will provide an online outlet for the vibrant discussions practitioners have each day. I also hope it provides inspiration, guidance, and empowering facts to those who are looking for different ways to work and parent. Our twenty years of research provides valuable arguments to employees and employers looking to make flexibility work. It’s also an important resource for the media, and we welcome journalists to participate as well.

When Dana Friedman and I co-founded Families and Work Institute in 1989, we felt fortunate on the days when we could look ahead to the next month or even the next year. Twenty years was almost inconceivable. Yet, here we are, celebrating the Institute’s 20th anniversary! On Monday, we celebrated in New York City at the annual Work Life Legacy Awards, where we honored Mike Carey of Johnson and Johnson. Work+Life Fit’s Cali Yost live-blogged the Awards here.

For those of you who are new to the Institute, our work focuses on three major areas: the workforce/workplace, youth and early childhood.

From its earliest beginnings, the Institute has had an enormous impact in creating and shaping the work life movement, not only by raising the awareness about work-life issues with policymakers and thought leaders, including governors and presidents, but also by supporting agents of change in business, early childhood and youth development, education and community engagement.

The issues that Families and Work Institute tackles are broad and timely, affecting life on and off the job. Our current projects focus on:
•    the effective workplace;
•    the impact of the recession on employers and their policies;
•    leaders in a global economy
•    comparisons among working conditions in the E.U. and U.S.;
•    talent management;
•    workplace and career flexibility;
•    gender and generation in the workforce;
•    overwork in America;
•    the health of the American workforce;
•    improving the financial assets of low-wage workers;
•    early learning and education;
•    the views of youth on work and family;
•    family caregivers of the elderly;
•    working in retirement; and
•    the aging workforce.

Ultimately, the Institute’s work benefits American employers and employees, their families, their communities and the institutions that support them.

We have conducted hundreds of studies that are widely used; you may be most familiar with the ongoing National Study of Employers (1998, 2005, 2008), one of the most comprehensive ongoing studies of how employers are responding to the changing workforce. For example, among some 200 PDFs of our research and reports posted on our Web site, over 115,000 downloads were made in t he past year, averaging 316 downloads per day.

But we are also out in the field. We direct When Work Works, a project on workplace effectiveness and flexibility funded by the Sloan Foundation that is now in 30 communities and three states and oversee the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility, a research-based award that has close to 1,000 applicants in 2009. We also direct The Supporting Work Project, funded by The Ford Foundation that is supporting and evaluating the efforts of nine communities and two national organizations to help low- to mid-income families connect to publicly-supported benefits through their employers.

The workplace is changing. Gender roles are changing. You yourself might want to change the way you work. If you have questions, please leave a comment, and we’ll get back to you. Thank you for visiting us.

Ellen

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