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Valerie Young's picture

From Your (Wo)manInWashington blog

This week on the Hill, members of the Work, Family and Health Network presented their findings at a congressional briefing about the intersection of workplace policy and workers' health and well-being.  When employees face conflict between work and family obligations, there is an increase in their stress level, greater risk of heart disease, and a decrease in their sleep duration.  But that's not all - when things go badly with colleagues, the worker's family is affected as well.  Children of stressed workers report spending less time with their parents, and they produce higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  The old model of top down authority at work continues to lose ground.
When workers control where and when they do their job, work/family conflict decreased dramatically.  The so-called "Results Oriented Work Environment" (ROWE) has 45% less turnover, greater job satisfaction, and healthier workers.  The employer also benefits from the ability to maintain operations during widespread illness or some sort of crisis.  Managers in this context likely express support for employees' lives outside of work, provide practical help when conflict arises, model flexibility in their own work lives, and are willing to engage in creative problem-solving.  Workers in control of their time get more sleep, have greater energy, display symptoms of "burn out" less often and report suffering less psychological stress.  While such outcomes clearly benefit workers and their families, they also correlate to greater workplace efficiency, productivity, and positive results on the bottom line.
You can find the materials I received at the briefing here:
Center for Work-Family Stress, Safety and Health
Flexible Work and Well-Being Center
Flexible Work and Well-Being Study  
Work, Family & Health Network

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