BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘ROWE’

From Gen Y Women to Employers: What You Need to Know about Work-Life Balance

Posted by knbarrett on November 30, 2011

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation recently released From Gen Y Women to Employers: What They Want in the Workplace and Why it Matters for Business, a report that explores Gen Y women’s career choices and the opportunities and challenges they face in the workplace. Results from our national survey of Gen Y (born 1978-1994) women challenged popular perceptions of Gen Y women in the workplace. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the key misconceptions across four thematic areas: work values, work-life balance, gender in the workplace and inter-generational workplace dynamics.

By Kara Nichols Barrett, lead project researcher

Today’s topic is work-life balance. Over 660 Gen Y told us about:

  • the relative importance of work-life balance;
  • their definition of work-life balance;
  • challenges to achieving work-life balance; and
  • individual and employer strategies for achieving work-life balance.

Here are the top “do’s” and “don’ts” from Gen Y women to employers on work-life balance.

Don’t underestimate its importance. We know it sounds like a broken record to state yet again that Gen Y women value work-life balance. But, work-life balance is REALLY important. Ninety-six percent of us ranked it as either very important or important. What’s more, the importance we place on work-life balance cuts across our key areas of difference: occupation, marital status, and whether or not we have children. Too often work-life balance is treated only as work-family conflict. This approach misses the mark in three important ways.

  1. It excludes Gen Y workers without children. Work-life balance is equally important to us whether or not we have children. When work-life balance programs and policies favor workers with children, formal and informal rules often preclude Gen Y workers from work-life programs.
  2. It narrowly defines “family.” Almost three-quarters of us reported that family is very important. We are granddaughters, daughters, sisters, aunts, spouses and partners. Our family responsibilities extend beyond the nuclear family.
  3. It disregards responsibilities and interests outside of work and home. There’s more to life than work and home. In addition to work and family, the following aspects of life are also important to us: hobbies (55%), friends (44%), exercise (43%), and volunteering (36%).

Do ask us what it means. Just because the majority of us believe work-life balance is important doesn’t mean that we all understand or define it the same way. Twenty-five percent of us want to maintain separate spheres, 50% want to integrate work and life and 18% believe that work-life balance is really about workplaces better reflecting the realities of the workforce.

Don’t expect us to live up to the 1960s “ideal worker.” We aren’t looking for a policy or programmatic fix; we want different workplace assumptions and rules. Too many of our workplaces are built off of the 1960s “ideal worker” – the worker who is available anytime, anywhere and for as long as you need. Most of us don’t want to be that worker. Most of us believe that work is important and can be meaningful and enjoyable, but we don’t want to mistake our jobs for our lives. If you are really serious about addressing our work-life challenges, you’ll have to explore assumptions about the “ideal worker” and the role of work in an employee’s life.

Do focus on work arrangements.  We know there’s a wide range of programmatic options for employers looking to boost work-life balance. No one is going to complain about onsite health services or a games room, but we suggest that you start with how work is structured. We want programs that address when, where and how work is done. Thirty-seven percent of us said that the most important program an employer could offer is flexible scheduling, 26% said results-based orientation and 15% said telecommuting.

Be sure to check out Chapter Two of the report for a complete overview of our work-life balance research findings and employer implications and applications.

This research, funded from the Virginia Allan Young Careerist Grant, is part of BPW Foundation’s ongoing “Young Careerist” research project that since 2005 has been exploring the career opportunities and challenges facing today’s young working women.  The research gives voice to a distinct group of working women who are vital to developing a diverse and skilled workforce.  Research has been conducted using social media, focus groups and this national survey. To find all of the research and this report, visit our Young Careerist website.

Posted in Families, Gen Y, Research, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »


Posted by YWM on November 29, 2011

By Patty Tanji
Open Workplace

“The guy leading the way is the one with all the arrows in his back”

“Bravery and valor” is one of my signature strengths.  If you want to know yours head over to Authentic Happiness powered by some great research by positive psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania.  I’m not sure to whom the above quote is attributable but thought it appropriate for me and anyone else who feels the calling to speak the unspeakable, and do the undo-able.   As I journey through my own experiences on a path to becoming self enlightened — its important to know a few daggers will be hurled my way.  The key to surviving and thriving in a world that wants me to conform to someone else’s definition of success is to live life on solid footing, knowing who I am, and what makes me feel most alive. That’s my definition of success. And, it would be great to have some company.

As a person who woke up one day with a business degree in one hand and a 9 month old in the other, I believed I could change the world, or at least make our workplaces more family friendly.  I was not prepared for the opposition I would encounter along the way.  The status quo is firmly entrenched in the human psyche and that includes how we do business in America and throughout the globe.  Any threat to intervene in a world by revealing a different perspective will meet resistance from within and without.  Even from the very people we thought were on our side.

For many years advocates like me for family friendly workplaces have been praising the bottom-line benefits of creating workplaces where people could bring their whole selves to work.  We now know that any usage of telework, job sharing, or reduced work week policies are met with the ‘stink eye’ of resistance.  Despite the evidence that employees who have control over the time and timing of their work makes for more productive workplaces and financially stronger organizations, the status quo way of doing business, views employees who participate in flexible work arrangements as less dedicated, less ambitious and not team players.    As a result we see fewer women in the c’suites, and other executive positions in our organizations.  Lets not forget the men who are also negatively affected by workplace cultures that reduce the value of an employee to the number of hours at the office.  The ‘daggers in the back’ of the modern workplace.   (Don’t get me started on when work actually begins and when it ends — take a look here if you are curious.)

When I posted in a social media group that we, as leaders, might view the Occupy movement as an opportunity for creating more human centered democratic workplaces that embrace a shared a vision and purpose with everyone in the organization,  accountability, integrity (see Worldblu’s list of democratic principles),  the daggers flew as resistance to change became apparent.  Here are some of the responses — fraught with fear and frustration at the thought of a changing the business landscape:

1. If we continue to attack and impede, rather than reward risk takers and visionaries our society will grind to a halt. If we keep choking the golden goose we will have to live off what we have been and not what we can be. When we stand up for our rights, it becomes impossible to focus on delivering value. If we fail to deliver value, someone else will.

2. The closer you get to the source of the food and value chain, the more the luster fades of “wouldn’t it be nice if? I do believe wholeheartedly in responsible management, but we can’t take a Boston cookie-cutter to an Appalachian coal mine, or Kansas wheat field and expect the same results.

3. Milton Friedman who once said “the social responsiblity of a corporation is to make a profit.” Profits create growth, growth creates profits, profits and growth create jobs but more importantly they create opportunity and hope for people…that 99%

4. Earth to Patti this war, as in business is war, survival of the fittest. My competitors are trying to take mine and I’m trying to take theirs. We’re not in kindergarten where everyone plays fair in the sand box. Human beings are not wired that way.

5. Patti’s on the right side of socialists every where. So you’re right if we become a socialist country she, you and the occupiers will be on that so called right side.

Some of these points are very valid ….even the ‘earth to Patti’ comment but more importantly I thought it interesting the use of the war metaphor and the unhealthy view of competition. This is why our workplaces are not family friendly and that is why our efforts as advocates to create more inclusive workplace cultures have stalled. Change is hard but change we must.

So, since my DNA compels me to opt-out of the status quo, in more ways than one, and opt-in to something else that is more creative, loving, and democratic, I embrace the daggers as part of the landscape.  Best keep my shields up!

This article first appeared on My Open Workplace

Patty Tanji works with local and state government agencies and the State Legislature to ensure the
elimination of gender-based disparities in public employment in Minnesota. Her work allows for pay
equity in the workplace, which positively impacts the lives of Minnesota women who work in the public
sector. Her work directly impacts the economic power of these families.

She will receive the Woman of Distinction award on December 1st from Century College and the Century College Women
and Gender Studies Department for her professional accomplishments and for her work in improving the lives and increasing opportunities for women and girls.

Follow Patty on twitter

Posted in Gender Discrimination, Pay Equity, Successful Workplaces, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Huffington Post: Ten Tips to Create a Flexible, Virtual Work Environment

Posted by gansie on October 4, 2010

The workplace flexibility movement has two things going for it: one, it’s not going away, and two, just like the word itself, it can adapt and change to fit any organizational culture.

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation is a non-profit research and education organization that supports workforce development programs and workplace policies that recognize the diverse needs of working women, communities and businesses. That is not only how we fulfill our mission, but also how we conduct our operations internally. Through our own research, BPW Foundation recognized the empowering, productive and profitable qualities residing in a flexible, virtual office environment.

In May 2010, BPW Foundation went virtual. But not only did we leave our brick and mortar office behind, we also started operating under ROWE–Results Only Work Environment–originally created by Best Buy. This approach rebuffs rewarding presence over performance. Under ROWE, productivity is no longer measured by hours worked, but by deliverables and outputs. National Work & Family Month is a perfect time to reevaluate what business operations can be modified so employers can profit and employees can thrive.

If an employee can get her work done from 9am-1pm, why should she sit at her desk for the rest of the day? And in fact, why should she even have to be at her desk? If the focus is on results, then why can’t she work when, where and how she works best? Can’t she check her iPhone from a football game, the Jersey Shore or a coffee shop?

>>>Read the rest of Deborah L. Frett’s article on Huffington Post

Previously on Huffington Post

Fact or Fiction: Is Gen Y Lazy?

Workforce Demographics: Who Are We Creating Jobs For?

The Work-Life Tip Sheet: 10 Steps to a Successful Workplace

Posted in Families, Successful Workplaces, Virtual Office, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Misbehavin’ Notification: BPW Foundation Demonstrates Commitment to Successful Workplaces

Posted by sherrysaunders on May 19, 2010

Non-profit Moves to Virtual Office and Results-Only Work Environment

Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation CEO Deborah L. Frett announced today that the organization has taken a major step towards its commitment to successful workplaces by moving to a virtual office and a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE).  “There is the old saying- you need to ‘walk the talk’- and BPW Foundation is doing just that,” Frett said.    

“We have been researching the process of going virtual over the last year and have determined that this change will work best for both our employees and the organization as a whole,” Frett continued. “This is just one more step in a process that started more than three years ago: to find the best and most successful business model, so that BPW Foundation can increase programmatic spending, improve productivity and increase employees’ flexibility in managing work and life.” 

The virtual office concept is growing.  Inc Magazine reported when it conducted its virtual experiment in February 2010 that according to the research company Forrester, 34 million Americans are working from home at least part time.

There are many reasons that businesses are considering virtual or telecommuting options today including decreased rental costs, cutting down on commuting time and costs for employees, the ability to hire from a more geographically diverse talent pool and more satisfied and productive employees. However, BPW Foundation cautions that there is a vast difference between telecommuting and a virtual organization. 

“BPW Foundation is chronicling this journey and will be developing promising practices for businesses to move to a virtual environment,” said Roslyn Ridgeway, BPW Foundation Chair. “It is part of our commitment to a successful workplace. Additionally, the operational move to a results only work environment will allow staff to be evaluated on their productivity,” said Ridgeway. “Utilizing ROWE should allow our employees to increase the organization’s performance while managing all the demands in their lives – both personal and work. This is integral to BPW Foundation’s mission.

As a result of its research on going virtual, the organization recognizes the importance of social interaction. BPW Foundation will maintain two small offices within a flexible office suite in downtown Washington, DC to host social activities, as well as conduct in-person meetings with staff, board members and business and coalition partners. Employees have been provided the necessary equipment and technology in their home offices and the employee handbook has been updated to include the new reality of working at home.  The organization has been working with a consultant to help with the transition as the employees and management learn new ways of communicating and working effectively remotely.

Posted in Misbehavin' Notification, Successful Workplaces, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »