Today, the nonpartisan Congressional Management Foundation and the Society for Human Resource Management issued a new report, "Life in Congress: Aligning Work and Life in the U.S. House and Senate." The report surveyed 1,400 congressional staff, focusing on work-life issues and the struggles in managing the multiple demands of work, family and personal responsibility. While the findings of the report show that a majority of Congressional staff is dissatisfied with work-life flexibility, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo's office stands in contrast as a strong example of an office that provides a sufficient balance between work and personal life.
Earlier this year, Senator Crapo introduced a Senate resolution designating October, 2012, as "National Work and Family Month." Unanimously approved, the resolution recognizes the importance of working families in today's evolving workforce. Crapo also received the Best in Congress Award from Working Mother Media and Corporate Voices for Working Families for his efforts on work-life issues. In announcing the awards, the partnership touted Crapo and other recipients as "practicing what they preach--employing family-friendly policies in their own offices."
In the report, Crapo's office is treated as a model for what a healthy Congressional office environment might look like and as a case study for how it can be replicated across Capitol Hill.
"As I developed working policies for my office, I wanted to make sure that families and quality of life issues received fair attention and that I set a good example," Crapo said. "There are many workplaces that could improve in these areas with just a few modifications, benefiting both employer and employee by fostering more productive and happier workers."
In a Q&A section at the end of the report, Susan Wheeler, Crapo's Washington, D.C., chief of staff, is asked why workplace flexibility is a priority for Crapo's office. "The senator makes his family a priority, so it flows from the top," Wheeler says. "In our office, family and life issues have come up with various staffers, and our Member has been amenable to finding solutions to those."