I have just returned from a whirlwind week in D.C. and I am thrilled to have been asked to participate in the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility this past Wednesday. I want to thank the White House Council on Women and Girls for hosting such an important forum. It was an overwhelming honor to be in the presence of the President and First Lady and other business and policy leaders who, like LiveOps, are striving to change the way we approach the traditional workplace. It was wonderful to see the Administration addressing the topic of workplace flexibility and looking to CEOs, small business owners, labor leaders and policy experts for their input on innovative ways to better support a workforce that has changing needs.
The biggest takeaway for me came during the breakout session where forum participants were able to discuss as a group the big opportunity there is for evolving the dialogue around work. It was great to hear from Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, authors of the book Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It, about the importance of a results-only work environment and how focusing on results can help both a company’s bottom line and the employee’s work-life balance. I think the Obama Administration’s support of a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) within the federal government demonstrates a commitment to workplace flexibility and innovative approaches to the workplace. ROWE emphasizes a core belief of LiveOps which is to evaluate workers on what they do, not where or when they do it. LiveOps has been at the forefront of a results-based work environment and we will continue to promote these ideals.
Many of the ideas and concepts that were discussed focused heavily on the employer and employee but also the larger opportunity that workplace flexibility presents to drive job creation in the United States and ultimately boost the nation’s economy. One thing that I thought was missing from the discussion, however, was how we adapt and support the newly emerging freelance and contract workforce. In a candid conversation with Hilda Solia, U.S. Secretary of Labor, she agreed that there was a lot of work to be done to support this ever-growing workforce. Secretary Solis indicated that she was planning roundtable discussions on the topic and LiveOps would hope to participate and share with the Secretary the point of view of our independent agent community.
Interestingly, in a survey released this week of our independent agent community, 66% of respondents cited work flexibility as the number one reason they have chosen to contract with LiveOps. These results underscore the importance for businesses and government to consider how flexibility plays a role in retention and productivity of workers. Also compelling was the report issued by the White House Council of Economic Advisers during Wednesday’s Forum that indicated that companies with flexible work arrangements enjoy lower turnover and absenteeism, higher productivity and healthier workers. These results not only support what we have always known to be true at LiveOps, but will hopefully propel other businesses to support the workplace flexibility model.
In the President’s closing remarks about workplace flexibility, he said that if “…you’ve found that what’s good for your workers and is good for your families can be good for your bottom lines and your shareholders as well, then you need to spread the word.” LiveOps IS spreading the word on behalf of our customers and more than 20,000 independent agents who have seen firsthand the benefit of a flexible work model. We hope to continue to lead these discussions and help move the country forward and remain competitive in the global economy. My experience at the White House for the Forum was an amazing opportunity for both LiveOps and me personally, and I hope the Obama Administration listens to the advice and ideas that came out of today’s sessions and remains engaged on this important policy issue.