On March 31, 2010, the White House held a forum on workplace flexibility, bringing together business owners, employees, management and labor representatives, and administration officials. Michelle Obama opened the forum, stating “flexible policies actually make employees more — not less — productive . . . .” The resounding theme was that employers should adopt flexible workplace policies to help their employees balance the demands of their home and work lives. To that end, the White House’s Office of Personnel and Management announced the establishment of a pilot program for federal employes based on a “results-only” work environment. In other words, “face time” at work will be irrelevant. Performance will be measured simply be the ability to get the job done. The how, when and where will be up to the employee.
In closing the forum, President Obama characterized workplace flexibility as an issue that affects the national economy. Employers should keep their eyes on this national dialogue. Whether or not they intend to adopt flexible work arrangement policies, either formally or informally, it promises to be a salient workplace issue. (See our prior post on SHRM’s position).