This initiative, funded through the NICHD Population Dynamics Branch (formerly the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch), supports interdisciplinary research to develop innovative designs for evaluating the effects of workplace policies and practices related to work-family conflict on the health and well-being of workers and their families and on the organization/workplace.
The long-range goals of this project is to identify workplace interventions that can improve health and well-being by improving workers' ability to successfully meet demands of both work and family. This work also aims to develop: a common theoretical model that can guide the design of additional research; and a common return-on-investment model that users can adapt to different workplace settings. These common models enable researchers to better examine and compare employer costs and benefits for the interventions.
The Work, Family & Health Network is the primary component of the initiative and is supported by the NICHD, the National Institute on Aging, and the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Administration for Children and Families (DHHS), the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation also contribute to Network research activities.
Examples of potential workplace interventions include changes in workplace structure and culture (e.g., the initiatives pilot studies found that the following items were beneficial to both employees and employers):
- Increasing employees' sense of control over the time and timing of their work
- Improving supervisor support for work and family balance
- Changing culture to focus on work results that matter most for the business/workplace
Building on these pilot results, researchers studied these topics and issues:
- Behavioral measures of supervisory support
- Flexible work schedules
- Family-responsive workplace policies and practices in small businesses
- Work stress, health, and parenting among hotel employees
- Family to work conflict and work to family conflict
- Parenting practices and stressors
- Couple relationships
- Children's health and well-being
- Changes in business outcomes: job satisfaction, performance, employee turnover and absenteeism, and workplace safety
- Portland State University/Michigan State University*
- Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research*
- Pennsylvania State University*
- University of Minnesota, Twin Cities *
- RTI International* (with the University of Southern California)
- Harvard University School of Public Health
* Funded by NICHD