New federal initiative improves workplace flexibility for scientists and their families

September 26, 2011

An ambitious 10-year plan to enhance workplace flexibility for research professionals was announced on September 26, 2011, in Washington, D.C. Directors from the White House Council on Women and Girls, the White House Office of Science and Technology, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the plan together.

The NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative aims not only to make it easier for researchers—particularly female ones—to take time off for family obligations, but also to put projects on hold and eventually to return to work with minimal disruption to those projects.

The NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative comprises a number of family-friendly policies. For example, researchers will be able to postpone grants while caring for newborns or newly adopted children. Investigators on family leave can request supplemental stipends for research staff to maintain their labs until they return. Panel reviewers will have more opportunities to conduct their work online, thereby minimizing the need to travel.

Read the full statement from the White House, including thoughts from First Lady Michelle Obama, to learn more the NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative.

Gain productivity with flexibility in work

June 29, 2011

In a article in, Network researcher Ellen Kossek presents the sometimes counter-intuitive notion that workplace flexibility can actually make your employees more productive. She and co-author Kelly Hannum talk about what it means to adapt work to individual differences—and how that can lead to more engaged and energized employees in the long run.

Read the full article: How flexibility can boost productivity

Survey reveals fathers both more active and absent

June 15, 2011

In what may seem like a contradiction, a newly released Pew survey found that fathers have become more involved int he day-to-day lives of their children, but also that 27% of fathers are living apart from their children. Read the whole article at: A Tale of Two Fathers.

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