A paper (pdf) by Nick Bloom, Tobias Kretschmer, and John van Reenen says the truth lies somewhere in the middle. In their study of more than 450 manufacturing firms in the US and Europe, they found that family-friendly workplace practices (FFWP) were associated with more productive companies — but that was because the companies were well-run in the first place. In addition, they found that “firms with a higher proportion of female managers and more skilled workers tend to implement more FFWP.” These initiatives might not not earn money, but they pay for themselves, and can produce less-tangible benefits as well — such as attracting women to and retaining them in management positions.
So in the end, family-friendly workplaces don’t make a company great. But great companies tend to make workplaces family-friendly.
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