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Build Flexible Schedules

Case Study: Sloan Work and Family Research Network
Boston College

Ward’s Furniture is a family-owned retail operation in Long Beach, California, that sells household furniture and appliances to the general public. The company also sells appliances to property management companies. It has been in operation since the 1940’s and has 17 employees, four of whom are women. The average age of its workers is approximately 34. There is a core group of employees who have been at Ward’s for between five and 17 years; the others have been with the company for less than two years.

Maria Whitney has worked at Ward’s Furniture for 17 years, including the last four as office manager. She is also the mother of four children, including a six-year-old who has autism. Shortly after that child was born, she asked the company if she could set up a more flexible work schedule, a request they granted. Now, she spends two days a week in the office and works an additional six to eight hours a week from home, where she does most of the billing. “Having a flexible schedule helps me a lot,” says Maria. “I’m able to take care of my family’s needs at home, as a mother, and I’m able to provide some material things for my family as well, since I work.” She says she probably wouldn’t have been able to stay in her same job if she didn’t have such a flexible work schedule. “As a mother and as a worker, I really wish there were other businesses that would be able to do this for other workers – to do whatever it takes to have flexible schedules.”


If you would like more information on meeting the child care needs of your employees contact Marie Lopez Stewart via e-mail or call 619-521-3055 ext. 2306.