The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program on Workplace, Work Force and Working Families and its National Workplace Flexibility Initiative have worked to increase voluntary employer practices while also building a conversation around national policy on workplace flexibility. In focusing on the workplace, Sloan was interested in learning the extent to which American employers were responding to an increasingly diverse workforce, in terms of their business objectives and the organizational structure of the workplace, including provisions related to time and space.
Research has identified an interdependent relationship between business productivity and workplace flexibility that is capable of being mutually beneficial to individuals and businesses. Flexible work hours have resulted in, among other benefits, increased employee productivity, improved retention and recruitment, reduced absenteeism and sick leave, and higher morale. At the individual level, workplace flexibility has been associated with reductions in worker stress and depressive symptoms, a general reduction in work-family conflict, and increases in the amount of time that families spend together.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation chose to develop funding strategies, including empirical case studies, which have the potential to affect how our society navigates these major social and economic changes by identifying which steps might be beneficial for the future.
Families and Work Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that studies the changing work force, workplace, family and community. Its Alfred P. Sloan Foundation-funded National Study of the Changing Workforce is the only ongoing study of the U.S. work force of its kind or scale. The National Study of Employers is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, providing data on the business response to the changes in the work force and the nature of work.
When Work Works is a nationwide initiative to bring research on workplace effectiveness and flexibility into community and business practice. Its rigorous award program, the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility, recognizes employers across the country that are successfully using flexibility to meet business and employee goals. The project is a collaborative effort among the Families and Work Institute, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Twiga Foundation.
Promising practices and innovative ideas for creating effective and flexible workplaces are culled from winners of the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility and published annually in the searchable Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work Work.
Corporate Voices for Working Families is the leading national business membership organization representing the private sector on public and corporate policy issues involving working families. Its 2005 report Business Impacts of Flexibility: An Imperative for Expansion demonstrated that the business case to expand workplace flexibility is substantial and compelling. Its 2008 report, Flexible Work Strategies: Attitutes & Experiences details the business imperative of workplace flexibility. Its Innovative Workplace Flexibility Options for Hourly Workers demonstrates the impacts of workplace flexibility on both hourly workers and managers. Corporate Voices for Working Families has also published a variety of practical workplace flexibility toolkits to help implement and request flexibility programs.
The Center on Aging & Work at Boston College is a unique research center that focuses on one of the defining issues of our time: aging and work. The Center integrates evidence from research with insights from workplace experiences to inform innovative organizational decision-making. Collaborating with business leaders and scholars in a multi-disciplinary dialogue, the center develops the next generation of knowledge and talent management.
The Alfred P. Sloan Work and Family Research Network is the premier online destination for information about work and family. Its Resources for Workplace Practice provides specialized information on workforce issues, talent management, and the impact of work and family issues on business outcomes.
The Labor Project for Working Families partners with unions to advocate for family-friendly workplaces. Its LEARN WorkFamily is the nation's only free online database of contract language on work family issues such as family leave, childcare, elder care, flexible work options, adoption, bereavement leave and much more.
The American Council on Education (ACE) is the only higher education organization that represents presidents and chancellors of all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions. In An Agenda for Excellence: Creating Flexibility in Tenure-Track Faculty Careers, ACE and a panel of presidents and chancellors from across the United States outlined an ambitious agenda to reform and enhance the academic career path for tenured and tenure-track faculty. It awards The Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Faculty Career Flexibility.
The Center for WorkLife Law is a nonprofit research and advocacy group working to develop effective measures to eliminate discrimination due to family responsibility. It works with employees, employers, plaintiffs’ employment lawyers, management-side employment lawyers, unions, and public policy makers, to identify and prevent discriminatory employment practices against caregivers.
Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP) is dedicated to advancing work-life as a business strategy integrating work, family and community. An entity of WorldatWork, AWLP defines and recognizes innovation and best practices, facilitates dialogue among various sectors and promotes work-life thought leadership. In 2008, it published the e-book Workplace Flexibility: Innovation in Action which probes the differences between flexibility practices in private sector and academia, outlines the many roads to flexibility and includes numerous case studies.
The States-as-Employers-of-Choice project is an ongoing collaboration between the Twiga Foundation, Inc. and the Sloan Center on Aging & Work. The project aims to shed light on the dynamics of aging in the state public sector workforce and the responses of state agencies to issues such as with the adoption of flexible work options.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit, grant-making institution. Its Workplace, Work Force & Working Families program has funded a 15-year strategic initiative integrating empirical research on the challenges facing today's working families with effective business practices and practical public policy solutions. Its National Workplace Flexibility Initiative is a collaborative effort to make workplace flexibility a compelling national issue and a standard of the American workplace.