Category Archives: blog

Blog posts related to the WAF Project

Mums forced out due to lack of flexible jobs

Nearly one in five [18%]  of working mums have been forced to leave their jobs because a flexible working request has been turned down, according to Workingmums.co.uk’s annual survey published today .

The survey of over 2,000 women in Workingmums.co.uk’s 10th anniversary year shows that over a quarter of mums in work [26%] have had a flexible working request turned down. Some 12 per cent said their employer did not even seem to consider their request at all and over a quarter [27%] said the reason given for turning down the request was not one which is allowable under flexible working legislation.

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Can flexible working work for men?

Annabel Crabb in conversation with four men, each working flexible hours in various careers. What are the perceptions of men working flexible hours and how does this affect their careers, colleagues and family life?

WAF note: Key points mentioned here about the flexibility bias, how to eliminate them, and how to manage a flexible working workers – and finally flexibility is NOT only about reducing hours!

via the Australian Government’s  Workplace Gender Equality Agency

The more work-life balance we have the more we want

Leah Ruppanner, University of Melbourne

Workers in countries where shorter working hours are the norm are more likely to complain of poor work-life balance, according to our research recently published in the journal Social Forces.

David Maume and I explored the impact of legislated maximum working hours, now in place in most western industrialised countries, on work-family conflict. We included data for employees in 32 nations.

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Do we really want to become Danes when it comes to childcare?

 

Ah, the Danish model of childcare. So much ink has been spilt over how great of a system it is, in terms of cost, quality as well as just the abundance/accessibility of it – and consequently how it really supports/allows mothers to get back to work after childbirth.

Yet we all know, we can’t all be Danes… or can we? Continue reading

Flexible working is making us work longer

Freedom is slavery. George Orwell, 1984.

Imagine if you could work whenever and wherever you wanted to. Would you work less and enjoy more time with family and friends? Or would you end up perpetually working, have work spill over into the rest of your life?

Many do not have to imagine what this freedom is like. Roughly a third of all employed workers in the UK have flexibility over their working hours and about a fifth of people work from home on occasion. Across the EU, about 17% of all employed workers have access to flexitime, which means their work start and finish times are flexible. Another 5% have full autonomy over when and how long they work.

Contrary to what you might expect, those with more control over their work schedule work more than those with less control. In fact, people have a tendency to work more overtime hours once they are allowed to work flexibly, compared to when they were not.

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Flexible working: The way of the future? Think Kent Talk by Heejung Chung

The way we work has changed considerably in recent years with an increasing number of people gaining access to flexible working and more control over their work schedules. But in reality, has such flexibility given employees more freedom and autonomy?

Dr Heejung Chung explores the benefits of flexible working and the potential negative effects it can have for workers, especially in the context of increased competition, high unemployment and the decline of worker and union power.

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Working Paper 1: The Provision of Flexitime

The Work, Autonomy, Flexibility and Work-Life Balance (WAF) Project today releases its first working paper by principal investigator Heejung Chung.

This paper examines the provision of flexitime in companies across a number of European countries. The results show that company composition, structure and agency factors all play a role in explaining the provision of flexitime. However, the factors explaining the provision of flexitime within each country are not necessarily the same as those explaining how companies provide it to employees.

Cross-national variance in the provision of flexitime in 2009 can be explained mostly through national level demand: female labour market participation rates, cultural norms on work, as well as the affluence of the country. This is a change from 2004, where the most important factors explaining the provision of flexitime were government efforts in providing family policy and the size of the public sector.

Overall, this paper shows that the more relevant factors in explaining why companies provide flexitime, especially as related to cross-national differences, seem to be based on the demand for such policies and the available resources to meet the demands.

You can download the full working paper here.

Helping men get work-life balance can help everyone

Laura Good, Deborah Towns and Jesse E. Olsen, from the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne, discuss work-life balance, workplace gender inequality, and an innovative Australian programme to encourage more men to take-up flexible working arrangements.

Women’s increased participation in the labour force over the past 50 years has outpaced changes to work organisation and social attitudes. This is true for issues of work-life balance, which continue to polarise workers and managers.

But work-life balance and gender equality are not only women’s issues. They belong to men, too. Continue reading

Making choices between policies and real lives

Barbara Hobson draws on the research of a team within a large European Network of Excellence, Reconciling work and welfare (RECWOWE), many of whom are authors in the recent book, Worklife Balance: The Agency and Capabilities Gap, focusing on the individual/household, firm and managerial level and welfare state policy context across European countries and Japan. In this post she discusses the choices faced by those who seek to take advantage of work-life balance policies. Continue reading