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February 2016

Reflections on Work & Life
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Finding the Cure to the Toxic Workplace
Brad Harrington, Executive Director and Jennifer Sabatini Fraone, Associate Director
We've been reading and hearing a lot lately about "toxic" work cultures. Starting with Ann Marie Slaughter's New York Times article A Toxic Work World in September to a great SHRM Next Chat we participated in this week on Teaming Up to Take Out a Toxic Culture, this term seems to have become a new buzzword that characterizes the experiences of many American workers. Merriam-Webster defines toxic as poisonous, extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful. The fact that this description resonates with so many is worrisome as we think about how employees experience their work lives. 

CWF News & Notes 

  Chicago RT
Looking forward to new events and publications in 2016!
We have exciting programming scheduled for 2016 including Roundtable meetings in Chicago in April and Boston in September, a March NEWFA meeting and several new webinars in our Member Policy Spotlight Series. More information and invitations will be mailed soon! We are also working on new titles in our Executive Briefing Series. Please contact with questions or to obtain information about our corporate partnership opportunities. We hope to see you there!

Our newest research report is based on a survey of 1,100 young adults at five large companies. The study, sponsored by KPMG, reveals that organizations should focus on growth opportunities, work-life balance and supportive bosses to retain Millennials. See articles on the study in Fast Company, Huffington Post, LinkedIn, Glamour, LinkedIn (2) and BC News. Brad Harrington reviewed the research results and highlights in a webinar, now available for viewing on our website. Full Report.

Articles & Resources

Brigid Schulte, one of the speakers at our 25th Anniversary Conference, shares her thoughts on the lack of recognition that work-life issues are really central to our society. "That these issues have languished so long on the Mommy track/Women's Initiative backwater is nothing short of a colossal failure of imagination. Now it's up to all of us to get real, to think bigger, and begin to make the real changes we all need in order to live a good life not in 2102, but in 2016." 

Employees are increasingly having to balance family and work domains. On one hand, the prolonged economic crisis is forcing many to work longer hours. On the other hand, and different from the past, there is now a stronger societal pressure on individuals to fully participate in every area of life, without affecting other areas.  As a consequence, work-family tensions arise since employees are less capable of participating as they would like, or are expected to, in the meaningful domains of their life.  

James Kerr goes on record as designating 2016, "The Year of the Millennial."  There is no doubt in his mind that this year represents a tipping point among the number of 30-somethings reaching the management ranks of organizations around the globe. Because of this build-up of critical mass, we can assume that these newly minted Gen Y managers will greatly influence this year's business agenda.  Here are 8 business predictions for how the coming year will be shaped by Millennial-inspired sensibilities.

New research released today shows that workers at a Fortune 500 company who participated in a pilot work flexibility program voiced higher levels of job satisfaction and reduced levels of burnout and psychological stress than employees within the same company who did not participate.
This is the first time a randomized controlled trial has been used to measure the effects of workplace flexibility in a U.S. firm. 

Work/Life Balancing Act: In 2016, reclaiming boundaries will be a big trend Miami Herald
When I welcomed 2016, I resolved to become more productive during the workday and spend more quality evening time with my family. Many of you started the new year with similar intentions to reclaim boundaries and improve your work/life balance. Fortunately, a number of work/life trends are taking hold to help us with our resolutions.

Expectations surrounding education have spun out of control. On top of a seven-hour school day, our kids march through hours of nightly homework, daily sports practices and band rehearsals, and weekend-consuming assignments and tournaments. Each activity is seen as a step on the ladder to a top college, an enviable job and a successful life.