Workplace flexibility subject of summit

March 31, 2010 at 6:16 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 31 (UPI) -- Workplace practices for a changing U.S. workforce were the topic of a daylong seminar hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama Wednesday.

The event brought together small-business owners, business leaders, policy experts, workers and labor officials to discuss best practices and benefits for the U.S. workplace and workforce, the White House said.

In conjunction with the forum, the President's Council of Economic Advisers released a report on the flexible workplace policies and practices, the White House said. The report said changes in the U.S. workforce -- such as more women entering the workforce, the prevalence of families where all adults work, increasing eldercare responsibilities, among other things -- point to a need for workplace flexibility. It also examined current flexible work arrangements, saying benefits of flex-work include reduced absenteeism, lower turnover, improved health of workers and increased productivity.

"Workplace flexibility isn't just a women's issue. It's an issue that affects the well-being of our families and the success of our businesses," Obama said. "It affects the strength of our economy -- whether we'll create the workplaces and jobs of the future that we need to compete in today's global economy."

In conjunction with the meeting, the Office of Personnel Management announced a pilot program to incorporate flexibility in the government to provide more efficient service for the public, the White House said. Officials said the pilot program will build on the savings telecommuting provided during last winter's snow storms and expand opportunities for federal employees across the United States to telecommute on a regular basis.

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