Last week I participated in a CSR Europe Laboratory. The idea behind these labs is to bring together business people, stakeholders, and representatives of the European Union to share experiences and explore joint operational projects. The laboratory I participated in deals with Mainstreaming Diversity. Led by L’Oréal Paris, its aim is to facilitate the sharing of best practices amongst companies with regard to diversity challenges. Upon completion, policy recommendations will be submitted to the EU. The meeting focused on work life balance. Around 10 companies participated and shared their best case studies pertaining to this topic. I presented them the various Work Life Balance programs Intel offers its employees around the world.Telecommuting and Diapers I was introduced to the tele-commuting program when my first daughter was born, this allowed me to work from home from time to time, spend more time with my little child… juggling work with home. Many research studies present the benefits of a work life balance both for the organization and for the employee. 1. “Employees who have the possibility of greater flexibility in their work as well as their employer’s understanding with regard to combining family and career feel greater commitment to society and demonstrate a greater willingness to work harder”. (National Study of Change Workforce, NY, 2002) 2. ” Employees who report greater flexibility in their workplaces are prepared to work an average of eight hours more per week, and still feel that there is a balance between their work and their personal lives”. (Brigham Young University, 2001) 3. ” A balanced family life enriches work life more than it harms it”. (Batt & Roehlig Moen, 2003) 4. “In organizations that invest in programs that focus on the mental and physical health of their employees, it was found that there was a six-dollar return on every dollar invested”. (American Journal of Health Promotion, 1993) Cooking requires flexibility : Working mothers at Intel Israel enjoy a gradual return to work during the first year after the birth of the baby. This includes reduced shifts and flexible conditions. I began to adopt the Intel Flex hour program When my second child was born. The idea was that I could be flexible with my work hours – take my kids to kindergarten in the morning, concentrate on my work tasks, and then deal with cooking for my family, then to join a teleconference meeting- In this manner, accomplishing my business objectives is the most important thing, not the number of hours time I spend at my office desk. Technology to support laundry : I came to the conclusion that I really needed to manage my time better when my third child was born. With various technology tools based on IP technology, web applications and mobile devices, I can link up to the necessary applications using any type of device (phone, mobile) wherever I am, be it at home, at the office, or in an airport. This is great, as I can manage my time much better, even though it requires a strong sense of self discipline to balance when to use these features at home and when to turn off my notebook and take care of the family laundry. It’s All About Effectiveness: When my fourth child was born, I understood that it was all a matter of organizing my work and life responsibilities, and priorities. In last week CSR Lab meeting I stressed that at Intel, we call these programs “Work Life Effectiveness” Programs. We prefer the word “effectiveness” to “Balance” because we can’t really separate our lives into two distinct parts: personal life and work life. It is all about being effective when and where necessary – both in your personal life and at work. The main conclusions reached at our meeting in the CSR Lab was that one of the challenges facing companies today is that of including WLB programs as a business strategy in matching the objectives of the organization and the needs of the employees and training them to utilize the tools offered by the organization in a way that produces personal and organizational results.
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