On Wednesday, I was thrilled to travel to Dallas, Texas to attend the National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility - Challenges and Solutions for Small Business - hosted by the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau. This event was a follow up to the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility we hosted in March. The Cox School of Business, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, held the event where U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis gave the keynote address, and Sara Manzano-Díaz, Director, Women’s Bureau, gave the opening remarks. First Lady Michelle Obama sent a letter of welcome that expressed her support for more flexible workplaces.
The Dallas event helped facilitate a dialogue between employers and employees about how to achieve Workplace Flexibility in individual workplaces. It is imperative that this dialogue continues from our March event because real change will happen workplace by workplace. Although the need for workplace flexibility disproportionately affects women, it’s really an issue for all workers, employers, and families. Flexible workplace policies are essential to helping workers respond to a myriad of child care, elder care, personal medical, and other family needs while also continuing to be effective, productive employees. As we learned from the CEA’s report Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility, employers who have flexible work places experience lower turnover, increased efficiency and productivity, reduced training costs, and the ability to attract better workers.
I encourage you to continue the conversation on Workplace Flexibility by hosting your own “Work-Flex Event.” Please visit the Council on Women and Girls website to download a “Work-Flex Event Starter Kit” and learn more about Workplace Flexibility.
Tina Tchen is Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls