New Report Shares Unique and Innovative Ways to Make Work “Work” for Both Employers and Employees Across the Nation

Jan. 30, 2007

Employer Profiles Highlight New Strategies from Winners of the

Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility

NEW YORK , NY – Imagine working a seven-day week followed by a seven-day weekend and still working full time. Is this a fantasy? No! It’s a strategic business strategy to attract talented employees, keep employees engaged and reduce turnover. And perhaps more surprisingly, the idea came from employees.

This and other innovative examples are detailed in a new report just released by Families and Work Institute, entitled, Making Work “Work:” New Ideas from the Winners of the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. The report compiles case studies that highlight innovative business practices of small, medium and large employers who realize that the traditional 9 to 5 workplace doesn’t always work best in the 21 st Century.

“In the past, an employee who wanted to work in a different way might have made a personal deal with his or her boss under the table,” said Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of Families and Work Institute, and co-director of When Work Works. “Today employees and employers are working together to find new ways to restructure the workplace in unique ways to give people the flexibility they need and to improve bottom line business measures like productivity and retention at the same time.”

Take ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City, UT, where employees suggested the idea of a seven days on, seven days off scheme. This flexible scheduling option, in addition to other forms of flexibility, helps ARUP to recruit employees in the face of a national health care talent shortage.

At NRG::Seattle, in Seattle, WA, every day around noon, the insurance company goes dark so that everyone must take a break for lunch. Owner Michelle Rupp believes its employees are restored by slowing down for an hour and then coming back to work re-energized.

And if employees are literally looking for a walk in the park, they should check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at Research Triangle Park in Durham, NC. There, employees can abandon their cubicles almost any time and decamp for the benches and tables the agency has set up on its wireless campus which it has found is more conducive to thinking, meeting, and writing.

The new report is the result of an intensive search in 17 U.S. communities to find examples of American ingenuity and to recognize them with the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. The awards are administered by When Work Works, a joint project of the Families and Work Institute, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Twiga Foundation, with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

“The workforce is aging with four generations in the workforce, the values of the younger generations are more family-centered, and women are playing a more vital role in the workforce,” said Galinsky. “Our research shows that employers who understand these changes and work with employees to create more effective and flexible workplaces, can recruit, engage and retain employees and meet – and in many cases exceed – their business goals.”

The Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility are location-based awards that recognize employers for their innovative workplace effectiveness and flexibility practices using a rigorous scoring methodology that is largely based on employees’ views. At many of the winning sites, employees have taken an active role in suggesting these strategies.

To download Making Work “Work” and see what some of the nation’s leading organizations are saying about workplace flexibility, click here.

When Work Works is a nationwide initiative on workplace effectiveness and workplace flexibility that is designed to share research and highlight promising practice on what makes work “work” in the 21st Century. It is a project of Families and Work Institute sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, in partnership with the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Twiga Foundation. For more information, please visit www.whenworkworks.org.

For more information about Families and Work Institute’s research findings, please contact Elizabeth Miller at emiller@familiesandwork.org or at (212) 465-8421.

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ABOUT FAMILIES AND WORK INSTITUTE

Families and Work Institute (FWI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that studies the changing workforce and workplace, the changing family and the changing community. As a preeminent think-tank, FWI is known for being ahead of the curve, identifying emerging issues, and then conducting rigorous research that often challenges common wisdom, provides insight and knowledge, and motivates action. Since the Institute was founded in 1989, our work has focused in three major areas: the workforce/workplace, youth and early childhood. For more information, visit www.familiesandwork.org.

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