Balancing work and family

Guest Comment
by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

 

As a husband, father and grandfather, I understand the challenges of balancing time with family and our professional lives. It often seems that there is just not enough time in each day to accomplish all we need to accomplish and also have quality time with our loved ones. However, a healthy balance between work and family can help produce happier and more productive employees to the benefit of families, communities and our nation.

In recognition of the value of time with family, for the past several years, October has been designated as “National Work and Family Month.” For five years, I have been honored to co-lead legislation that recognizes the importance of flexible work schedules to job productivity and healthy families. I joined a group of senators in introducing a Senate resolution designating October 2013 as “National Work and Family Month.” This year, marks the 10-year anniversary of enactment of this recognition. The resolution emphasizes the importance of work schedules that allow employees to spend time with their families and urges public officials, employers, employees and the general public to work together to achieve more balance between work and family.

The resolution also acknowledges research indicating a connection between job quality and workplace support with advantages such as job productivity, job satisfaction, a less stressful workforce, recruitment of talented and experienced employees and worker retention. The role of job flexibility in allowing parents to be more involved in the lives of their children and the correlation of parental involvement with higher achievement in language and mathematics, improved behavior, greater academic persistence and lower school dropout rates are also recognized in the resolution.

Many employers, often with families of their own, work hard to enable their employees to spend needed time with their loved ones while also meeting work responsibilities. Technological advancements have helped provide flexibility by advancing our ability to work in more places beyond the traditional workplace. This enables many American workers to no longer be limited to remaining at a desk or other assigned work areas. Employers who work hard to utilize this flexibility to the benefit of their businesses and employees are commendable.

Achieving a balance between work and family life is often challenging for both employees and employers. However, the benefits of trying to achieve this middle ground are apparent in productivity and the well-being of our families. The future strength of our nation depends on the progress of the children of today. Promoting work-life flexibility that best enables families to thrive is an important part of the foundation of a strong nation.

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