Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility

Source: Council of Economic Advisers, June 2014

…The Council of Economic Advisers first published “Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility” in March 2010. This report updates that report with insights from the most recent research on the economics of flexible workplace policies and practices. The first section reports some of the changes in the U.S. workforce that have increased the need for flexibility in the workplace.

• Women comprise nearly one-half of the labor force, and in more than 60 percent of households with children, all adults are working.
• Almost two-thirds of people providing unpaid eldercare have jobs, with about half of caregivers working full-time in addition to their caregiving duties. The second section examines the current state of flexible work arrangements and reports that many employers have adapted to the changing realities of American workers.
• Overall, more than three-fourths of employers report allowing at least some workers to periodically change their starting and quitting times, however only around a quarter of employers say that they allow most of their employees to do so. Overall, 56 percent of full-time workers report having flexible work hours, and only 47 percent of part-time workers do.
• Fewer workers have the flexibility to change their location: 22 percent of workers report having access to flexibility in where they work.
• Less-skilled workers have less workplace flexibility with their scheduled hours or location than do more highly-skilled workers.
• Most employers offer at least some workers the ability to return to work gradually after a major life event such as the birth or adoption of a child, although job sharing appears less widespread. …