Swanberg, J., James, J., Werner, M., & McKechnie, S. (2008). Workplace flexibility for hourly lower-wage employees: A strategic business practice within one national retail firm. The Psychologist Manager Journal, 11(1), 5-29. [Abstract and site to purchase article only]
Flexible work options are becoming a popular organizational practice used to assist employees with meeting their work and family responsibilities. However, much of the work–family scholarship and many of the work–family policies offered within organizations focus on forms of workplace flexibility for professional workers, at the exclusion of workers in lower-wage hourly jobs. Using data from interviews with senior managers (N=40), this paper examines the flexible work options offered to workers in lower-wage hourly positions and the associated benefits and challenges to businesses offering flexible work options. Implications for practice and policy are discussed.
Watson, E., & Swanberg, J. (2011, May). Flexible workplace solutions for low-wage hourly workers. A framework for a national conversation. Washington, DC: WF2010, Georgetown Law, Georgetown University. Download pdf
This report brings new insight to a dynamic field of study,advocacy, and business practice that places low-wage workers squarely in the national conversation on workplace flexibility. The scholarship in this area to date has skillfully illuminated the challenges facing workers in jobs requiring nonstandard hours and the disparities in access to flexibility among low-wage and higher-wage workers. This report adds to the scholarship in this area by drilling down to examine low-wage hourly workers’ flexibility needs through the lenses of standard (Monday through Friday daytime schedules) and nonstandard work schedules (anything other than a Monday through Friday daytime schedule) and part-time and full-time work. Examining the scheduling challenges facing these workers at close range, we find tremendous variation within a workforce often considered to be homogeneous. For this report, we undertook new data analysis and drew on existing research. Through this process, we identified three different types of scheduling challenges — rigidity, unpredictability, and instability — that often play out differently for workers on standard and nonstandard, part-time and full-time schedules. We hope that our findings will both broaden and refine the conversation on flexible work arrangements for low-wage hourly workers.