Dan Pink highlights a recent paper on the impact, or otherwise of family-friendly workplace practices (FFWP).
The paper, Are Family-Friendly Workplace Practices a Valuable Firm Resource? by Nick Bloom (Stanford University), Tobias Kretschmer (University of Munich) and John Van Reenen (London School of Economics) results from a study of 450 firms in Germany, France, UK and USA. It finds that, after controlling for the quality of management practices, there is no correlation between firm productivity and FFWP. In other words, FFWP were introduced by firms which were well-run in the first place and their introduction had no impact on productivity.
However, the study focused solely on manufacturing firms “mainly to avoid problems in measuring firm performance” and, without wishing to stereotype, I suspect that the results might be different for knowledge-intensive, services firms where individual contribution is not so easily commoditised and replaced/covered.
In those scenarios, having FFWP might be revealed to be a more clearly advantageous strategy, especially over the mid to long term.