Eliminating Mad Men Workplace Policies #SOTU

By Jon Hyman

Jan. 30, 2014

During Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, President Obama handed down the following edict:

It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode.

He’s correct. His comment was directed at a commitment to expanding equal-wage and family-leave laws. However, this statement is as much about workplace culture as it is about workplace laws. After all, the FMLA is a floor, not a ceiling.

Coincidentally, the morning after the SOTU, I came across the following post, written by Mary Wright at Build a Culture of Workplace Flexibility. In that post, Mary makes the argument for creating a culture of workplace flexibility, built around these seven tent-poles:

  1. Choices in managing time
  2. Flex time and flex place
  3. Reduced time
  4. Time off
  5. Flex careers
  6. Dealing with overwork
  7. Supervisor and coworker support

I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue this week, as my wife has been out of town on a business trip, making me a single dad, solely responsible to get kids to and from school and to attend to two snow days. The practice of law isn’t always conducive to parenthood. Yet, this week I’ve been in the office less than I would otherwise like to be, taking advantage of remote network access from home and the comforts of shifting some work until after the kids are asleep. It’s not easy, and it’s not ideal, but for me, it works, and I appreciate the flexibility. Do the same for your workers, if and when you can. Trust me, they will they appreciate it. Even better, you will keep quality workers engaged and employed, which is a win-win for everyone.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. Comment below or email  For more information, contact Hyman at (216) 736-7226 or Follow Hyman on Twitter at @jonhyman.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at

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