Category Archives: Flexible Work Arrangements

The Gig Economy Is Especially Susceptible to Sexual Harassment

Source: Nathan Heller, New Yorker, January 25, 2018

…..Slowly, and in drips, though, data are trickling in. This afternoon, HoneyBook, a platform for freelance events-industry workers—photographers, caterers, stationery designers, and so forth—released results from a sexual-harassment survey it ran, in December, among users. The sample is limited, and hardly random. (The company sent a survey invitation to thirty-eight thousand of its users; a thousand and eighty-seven participated anonymously, and ninety-seven per cent were women.) But it’s not nothing, and the data start to light a candle in a room that has been dark.

The harassment numbers in the HoneyBook report are—one wishes this were a shock—high. Fifty-four per cent of the freelancer respondents reported being sexually harassed in the course of their work. Of those, seventy-seven per cent cited “unprofessional comments” about their appearance, three-quarters were called “demeaning nicknames” on the job, and a horrifying sixty per cent reported physical intimidation. Eighty-seven per cent never brought these incidents to anyone’s attention, even though eighteen per cent say they were harassed by the same person more than four times. (More than eighty per cent, in fact, continued working on whatever the harassment-filled project had been.) Those who did lodge complaints found their claims ignored more than half of the time…..

What Does Telecommuting’s Rise Mean for Traffic and Transit?

Source: Mike Maciag, Governing, October 30, 2017

…. Americans primarily working from home recorded its largest ever year-over-year increase in 2016, climbing to 5 percent of the workforce. Using the Census estimates, we compared each metro area’s average share of workers telecommuting in 2015 and 2016 with averages for 2006 and 2007. In 186 of the 252 areas with comparable data, the share increased. If this trend continues, Americans working from home will soon overtake the share of people who use public transportation, as it already has in many regions. The slow but steady shift carries numerous potential implications for transportation systems…..

How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home

Source: Rebecca Knight, Harvard Business Review, May 5, 2017

More and more people are working remotely, and many say it improves their productivity and satisfaction — while also saving them time and money. If you’re commuting to an office every day but would like to work elsewhere on a weekly basis, how can you convince your boss to let you do so? What arguments or evidence should you use? And what factors will increase your chances of securing a regular work-at-home schedule?…

Unlocking the Housing-Related Benefits of Telework: A Case for Government Intervention

Source: W.C. Bunting – research economist in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Date Written: June 29, 2017

From the abstract:
The central claim of the present article is that some form of government intervention is necessary to make telework arrangements sufficiently binding in the long-run for employees living in, or near, city centers to feel comfortable incurring the costs of relocating to more remote, lower-priced areas, and to ensure the long-run financial self-sufficiency of private telework centers, which provide important benefits, not just to employers and employees, but to society generally. The public benefit considered here is the capacity for telework, and telework centers specifically, to provide lower-priced housing alternatives for middle- and high-income earners who choose to live in, or near, the city center to reduce the time spent commuting, but who would otherwise choose to live in more remote, lower-priced areas if commuting costs were lower. As explained, a minimal amount of government intervention is necessary, however, to overcome several key economic challenges that preclude employees from relocating to remote, lower-priced exurban or rural communities, as well as the formation of a new and exciting private-sector enterprise—the privately-operated telework center.

The Better Work Toolkit: A Science-Based Approach to Designing Work-Life Solutions That Work

Source: Brigid Schulte, Dan Connolly and Uyhun Ung, New America, Better Life Lab, March 30, 2017

…..The answer is not to jettison flexibility, collaboration, and autonomy, but rather, to use an understanding of human psychology to redesign work systems in order for individuals, teams and organizations to use them more skillfully. In this toolkit, we outline the challenges, best practices and promising new ideas to ease four particularly thorny choke points—reducing e-mail overload, inefficient meetings, and long work hours, and increasing restful time off—based on universal behavioral science principles…..

What Do Moms Really Need This Mother’s Day? Paid Family Leave

Source: Tillie McInnis, Refinery29, May 12, 2017

….Paid leave allows a worker to take time off in order to prioritize wellness, family, and life outside of work without losing pay (or risking their job security). Paid leave includes, but is not limited to family leave, personal leave, and sick leave. It seems like a simple concept that everyone should have access to, yet 61% of those on the lowest rungs of the income ladder don’t have a single paid sick day, and only 13% of U.S. workers have some paid family leave through their employers. It feels almost too obvious to be highlighting, but it’s an important point: Paid sick days are good for workers, and they don’t cost businesses much. Compared to other developed countries, the U.S. is seriously lagging in paid leave. We are one of the few developed countries still having contentious debates about abortion, and yet when a child is born, there are few to no laws in place that help children and families thrive. We put businesses first, claiming that it is too costly for employers to provide paid sick days, but as research shows, that is simply not the case. In New York City specifically, businesses surveyed found little to no increase in costs when they started to provide employees with paid sick days…..
Related:
How America Treats Working Moms Like Shit
Source: Laura Smith, Mother Jones, May/June 2017

….As many have pointed out, all moms are working moms, regardless of whether they are paid for their work. But as sociologist Arlie Hochschild put it in her book The Second Shift, mothers juggling housework with a day job enjoy a “double burden.” In time for Mother’s Day, here’s a short history of some of America’s most underappreciated employees…..

Happiness is Flextime

Source: Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, Lonnie Golden, Applied Research in Quality of Life, Forthcoming, Posted: 11 May 2017

From the abstract:
We study how working schedule flexibility (flextime) affects happiness. We use a US General Social Survey (GSS) pooled dataset containing the Quality of Worklife and Work Orientations modules for 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. We retain only respondents who are either full-time or part-time employees on payrolls. For flextime to be associated with greater happiness, it has to be more than just sometimes flexible or slight input into one’s work schedule, that is, little flextime does not increase happiness. But substantial flextime has large effect on happiness–the size effect is about as large as that of household income, or about as large as one-step increase in self-reported health, such as up from good to excellent health. Our findings provide support for both public and organizational policies that would promote greater work schedule flexibility or control for employees.