This March, we were thrilled to be part of the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. Through the President and First Lady’s leadership, the Obama Administration launched a national conversation on how innovative workplace flexibility strategies can help support working families and – at the same time – business’ bottom line. Indeed, the Forum echoed many of the same themes that Joan Blades and Nanette Fondas highlight in The Custom Fit Workplace.
In order to keep this national conversation going, the Obama Administration is now planning a series of regional forums on workplace flexibility in cities across the country. These events will address the impact flexibility can have on a range of industries – from healthcare to hospitality to manufacturing – as well as in small businesses and local governments. They will explore how flexibility can work for employees in a range of professions and income levels – including low-wage workers, whose need for flexibility is often acute.
But beyond these official events, the White House is also asking community members from across the country to contribute to the national conversation on workplace flexibility – through the White House Work-Flex Event Starter Kit.
The “Starter Kit” is designed to encourage a diverse range of stakeholders – from employers and managers, advocates and state and local officials to civic associations and working Americans from all professions and industries – to organize their own community-based events on workplace flexibility.
A “Starter Kit” event could take a range of forms – a town hall meeting designed to spur open discussion; a briefing by business or policy experts; a training workshop for employers, managers or employees interested in implementing flexibility in their own workplace.
The only real requirement is that “Starter Kit” events encourage meaningful discussion on flexibility. And to channel this local and community insight back into the national policy dialogue, the White House has created an online system for organizers to register their events and share feedback from their discussions with the Administration.
These “Starter Kit” events represent a tremendous opportunity for local leaders and working moms and dads to make their voice heard at the White House – and to ensure the national conversation on workplace flexibility reflects the realities facing employers and employees on the ground. Our hope is that communities across the country will use the “Starter Kit” as a first step in joining the national conversation on workplace flexibility. To get started, visit the “Starter Kit” on the White House website:
Jessica Glenn, Communications Director