US 'could be left behind if it doesn't adopt more flexible working'

US 'could be left behind if it doesn't adopt more flexible working'

The US risks being left behind if it does not embrace flexible working, a conference on flexible working heard this week.

Tina Tchen, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls told a Focus on Flexibility conference in Washington this week that more research needed to be done to show the impact of flexible working on productivity and efficiency and to find out what worked or the US risked being left behind.

The conference included a session on the business benefits of flexible working. It said: “Research shows that workplace flexibility has substantial benefits to individuals and to businesses of all sizes. A number of U.S. firms have led the way in implementing promising flexibility practices, including opportunities for flexible work arrangements, time off, and opportunities for career exit, maintenance and re-entry. But just as flexibility is not a one-size-fits-all solution for employees, nor is it for employers.”

It ended with a call for action on flexible working, saying: “A growing consensus finds that the mismatch between the needs of the US workforce and the structure of the workplace is no longer sustainable –serious consequences exist for families, for business, and for the overall economy. But, despite a rich body of academic research and evidence of a business case, workplace flexibility is still far from the norm in American society, particularly for low-wage workers. In addition, the day-to-day burdens of work-life conflict continue to fall on the shoulders of individual families as opposed to being seen as a shared problem with common solutions.”

The US Government has taken its first steps to promoting the benefits of flexible working since a major flexible working event earlier this year. In October, its Labor Department's Women's Bureau began a series of events around the country on workplace flexibility which will continue until next June.

Related tags: Flexible Working | US

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