A child takes a sucker break while his mother finishes filling orders during her job as a material handler, April 1997. Source: AP/Erwin Gebhard
Washington, D.C. — (ENEWSPF)–December 18, 2015. Although the United States is moving in the direction of offering more work-life balance to workers through the adoption of policies that allow workers to balance both work and family obligations—such as working from home, flexible scheduling, and help with child care—these kinds of policies are still far less common in the United States than in other advanced economies. The lack of such policies means that many working families are left to grapple with work-family conflicts on their own, with few options to ensure their families are cared for without putting their economic security at risk.
A new report released today by the Center for American Progress shows that the adoption of work-family policies could be a win-win for both employer profits and employees’ economic stability. Specifically, the report provides empirical evidence making the case that the adoption of work-life-balance practices in U.S. firms could help boost employers’ performance, including profitability.
“Our research shows that many firms here in the United States would be well served by introducing better work-life practices for their workers,” said Nicholas Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University and co-author of the report. “Adoption of work-life practices could improve profitability and productivity for employers and also provide better work-life-balance options for their employees.”
To investigate the relationship between work-life-balance practices and businesses’ bottom lines, the report uses international survey data to analyze work-life-balance practices, management practices, and performance among a random sample of firms. The survey found strong evidence that firms that offer a wider range of work-life-balance practices typically achieve higher levels of sales relative to other firms.
Additionally, the analysis demonstrates that there is a strong and statistically robust relationship between a firm’s adoption of pro-employee work-life-balances practices, firm sales, and their adoption of modern management practices.
The report suggests that the continued exposure of firms to product market competition; ongoing employee education and training; and exposure to the business practices of multinational firms could be effective in increasing the number of firms with work-life-balance practices. The report also calls for better information—including both high-quality businesses and academic research—to help firms in accelerating widespread adoption of work-life-balance policies.
- “Administering Paid Family and Medical Leave” by Sarah Jane Glynn
- “State Paid Leave Administration” by Sarah Jane Glynn
- “Real Family Values: Flexible Work Arrangements and Work-Life Fit” by Sarah Jane Glynn and Emily Baxter