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Journal Issue: Work and Family Volume 21 Number 2 Fall 2011

Workplace Flexibility: From Research to Action
Ellen Galinsky Kelly Sakai Tyler Wigton

An Experiment to Increase Access to Flexibility

The findings reported above as well as those from other articles in this volume reveal that workplace flexibility can have positive benefits for employers, employees, and children. So the question is how to increase flexibility. There are two broad alternatives: a mandated approach, where change is required by law, and a voluntary approach, where employers recognize their own self-interest in offering workplace flexibility and thus increasingly provide it.

In 2003, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation challenged Families and Work Institute to create and evaluate an experiment to increase the voluntary adoption of workplace flexibility. The resulting project, called When Work Works, was launched later that same year with funding from the Sloan Foundation. The project, based on a strategy of community involvement, was directed by Families and Work Institute in partnership with the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and the Twiga Foundation. In 2011 the Society for Human Resource Management partnered with Families and Work Institute to expand the project in new ways.