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CustomFit Workplace blog

The CustomFit Workplace blog is part of the MomsRising.org Open, Flexible Work blog. It is a place where workers, managers, educators and Human Resources professionals can share their insights and questions. The views expressed in this blogs aren't necessarily representative of the CustomFitWorkplace.org initiative or of MomsRising.org policy positions. Interested in blogging? drop us a line

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Why mothers are key to formulating public and economic policies that work

The following post, with minor modifications, was first featured in the Honolulu Star Advertiser as an op-ed last week, right before Hawaii’s state primary.  The first sentence of the editorial read:  "As this primary season comes to an end..."  

Ironically, the primary did not end as Hurricane Iselle hit parts of the state, impacting the ability of some residents to cast their ballots.

So one polling location will re-open this Friday to serve those who were not able to vote, but it's still unclear whether they will truly be able to exercise their rights as citizens because many of them still lack water and power, and are even lacking food.

While I knew that a hurricane could hit our island when I submitted the op-ed, I of course had no idea what the impact would be on our elections.  And when I now look at photos of roofless homes, fallen trees, and Big Island residents lined up for food and water, one of the final sentences in the op-ed takes on more meaning:  

"Significantly, the word “economy” comes from the ancient Greek, oikos, meaning household."

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Schedules That Work for Workers

A few weeks ago, President Obama convened a White House Summit on Working Families, an event attended by national leaders in business and labor. The event was designed to put the issues of working families under a national spotlight.

I was proud to participate in this event, representing the AFL-CIO and millions of workers throughout the country, and I wrote at the time that collective action following the summit would be the true measure of the summit’s success. While the summit brought much-needed attention to urgent issues facing working families, we need real solutions to help us meet the challenges we face.

So I applaud Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) for taking an important step to deliver on the promise with their introduction of the Schedules That Work Act last month.

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Pregnant Police Officer in Florence, KY Pushed Off the Job Due to City Policy

Office Lyndi Trischler is pregnant, lives with her one-year old daughter, and will soon have to move out of an apartment she can no longer afford because she’s been pushed out of her job. This is all because her employer, the City of Florence, Kentucky, will not permit any City employees to work with medical restrictions, unless they have been injured on-the-job.

As reported by the Washington Post yesterday:

“At five months pregnant with her second child, Officer Lyndi Trischler found that the gun belt she was required to wear on her 10-hour patrol shifts pulled painfully on her expanding abdomen. Her heavy bulletproof vest was so tight that she struggled to breathe. She began having heart palpitations.

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Forget Summer Fridays… Working Parents Need Real Flexibility

Your company tries to offer some sort of work flexibility. They allow you to take adjust your hours for "Summer Fridays", or they let you work from home in case of an emergency—say, a monsoon. But for the most part, your company doesn’t offer the real flexibility that all employees (especially working parents) truly need. Here are three reasons why employers should develop a formalized flexible work program and how it will benefit both employers and working parents.
 
It’s cheaper.
From commuting to clothing costs, food expenses and other extras, it can be quite pricey to work in a regular office. Working from home virtually eliminates all of those expenses for an employee. And, it’s estimated that employers stand to save upwards of $11,000 annually per telecommuting employee. No longer does a company have to pay for extra office space, office equipment such as computers, monitors, scanners, copiers, etc. They also save in terms of electricity and other office supplies.

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The Great Work Cultures Initiative: Raise a Big Tent, Invite a Million Friends

I became aware of the huge bias against mothers in hiring, wages and advancement over a decade ago.  In response I co-founded MomsRising.org with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner.  As I learned more and more about work that was compatible with parenthood it became clear that all the practices that are good for mothers are good for everybody, businesses included.  In 2010 I co-wrote The Custom-Fit Workplace: Choose When, Where and How to Work and Boost the Bottom Line. Out of the pink ghetto, a year later, speaking at a Wall St. conference it became clear to me that even this was not sufficient!   There have been inspirational speakers, thinkers, academics and consultants that speak to the power of teams, trust, flexibility, results-based management and more for decades... but broad systemic change has not happened. In spite of many brilliant success stories to emulate, great workplaces continue to be the exception rather than the norm.  This must change!
 

Why do we need Great Work Cultures?  A recent Gallup report reveals that  70% of the workforce is not engaged.

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