The Obamas held a White House forum Wednesday to promote flexible work arrangements, including work from home.
Why is President Obama focusing Wednesday on promoting family- friendly workplaces?
It's a fair question to ask, given all the other agenda items on the president's plate. Mr. Obama is still working to sell Americans on his new healthcare-reform law, confronting foreign-policy challenges, and announcing a new oil-drilling policy, among other things.
But he also convened a White House forum - with a lunchtime address by first lady Michelle Obama - to promote greater availability of work patterns such as telecommuting, flexible scheduling, and nonstandard hours (including job sharing and part- year work).
It's part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to improve the well-being of middle-class families. One group participating in Wednesday's event, the Workplace Flexibility 2010 initiative based at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, says the issue deserves policy attention now - even amid wider economic concerns.
In a new report, the Georgetown group cites four demographic trends that underscore the need for so-called flexible work arrangements at United States firms:
1. In 1970, almost two-thirds of married couples had one spouse at home, able to deal with many routine and emergency family needs. …