When we launched the movement 1 Million for Work Flexibility last October, our timing wasn't coincidental: National Work and Family Month is the perfect moment to shine a spotlight on work flexibility. As we mark our first anniversary, it's exciting to see how much 1MFWF has grown: we now have more than 60 organizations on board as part of our coalition (including WorldatWork and the Alliance for Work-Life Progress), and our blog is a robust resource for information on obtaining and implementing work flexibility. But we still have a long way to go before working families have the flexibility they need to succeed both at work and at home.
National Work and Family Month focuses on helping employers think strategically about how to attract and retain a talented workforce, and 1MFWF's goal is to elevate the voices that comprise that workforce and highlight their need for the widespread adoption of work flexibility. All year long, workers have shared their stories with us about why we need to rethink the way that work gets done.
They've made it abundantly clear that their well-being and productivity is shaped by far more than a paycheck. And their stories demonstrate that the need for work flexibility is not specific to one type of worker, or to one particular circumstance, but widespread and varied. Here are just a few of the reasons people are joining 1 Million for Work Flexibility:
A More Productive Workforce
Employees want work flexibility not only because it helps them achieve a better work/life fit, but because they know it improves their productivity. Wade in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, notes, "Technology should allow us to make the world better, get more done, and overall be more productive while maintaining balance and using less time just to commute. Instead, we are going the other way. Why? Let's change it. It's better for us all."
For many workers with disabilities or who are struggling with a health issue, the only obstacle stopping them from working is their commute. Heather in Atlanta, Georgia, explains, "As a person with a weak immune system, I often end up using well more than my sick days, but during those days I could easily work from home without a cost to my employer. The trouble is, I don't have the option."
Caring for the Next Generation
The current structure of the workplace makes it impossible to juggle caretaking with breadwinning. But as Kathy in Akron, Ohio, highlights, if we don't correct this imbalance, our children will suffer. She shares, "I dream that the term 'latch-key child' becomes an antiquated phrase in our society. As a former latch-key child raised by a single parent who not only worked during the hours I was awake at home, but also worked the weekends and holidays I was off of school, I wish that no child ever again needs to suffer in loneliness for the sake of a parent's career or a business' bottom line."
Contributing to our Communities
Our communities don't close on weekdays from 9am-5pm. Melanie in Tampa, Florida, notes, "I volunteer with community service organizations after work and on weekends but if I could reschedule my time I could be more efficient AND give more back at the same time."
Serving Our Military Families as They Have Served Us
Military families are often constantly on the move, which means that without the option to telecommute, military spouses are unable to find stable employment. As Jessica in Springfield, Virginia, shares, "I am a military spouse and I need job flexibility to be a better mom, wife, and a better me."
To all the workers out there who want nothing more than to excel at work and at home but struggle daily to make that happen, whatever your reason: You are not alone. Join us this month for our new webinar series designed to help you make the most of work flexibility in your own life. Keep an eye out on our blog for tips from thought-leaders helping to make flexibility a reality for workers across the country. And become one of the million standing up for a new way of working, because together we can make a difference.