Apparently Barack and Michelle Obama invited some corporate HR people and other workplace experts to the White House yesterday for a summit, during which participants explored "what we can do—as business leaders and advocates, as employees and as government officials—to modernize our workplaces to meet the needs of our workforce and our families."
The general idea is to acknowledge and accommodate the many "juggler families," whose plight is so ubiquitous I don't have to explain the term.
Ideas floated include: "encouraging telecommuting, giving people time off for family emergencies, enabling flexible schedules, allowing employees to swap shifts, and so on."
Of course, none of those ideas are novel, and lots of employers do all that stuff already.
And I have no idea how the White House might exercise its influence over these workplace practices, and don't necessarily support federally mandated employment policies.
But this issue affects the quality of Americans' daily lives more than almost any other, and I'm happy they're discussing it, and especially glad the First Lady is in on the public conversation.
"I remember those days," she said, about the years she juggled her law career and her family. "And as all the parents in this room know, it's never perfect—ever. But here's the thing: As we all know here today, it just doesn't have to be that way, doesn't have to be that hard."
Traditionally, First Ladies have pet causes. So far, Michelle has been on childhood obesity, an important problem but not exactly a moral controversy worthy of her penetrating lawyer's mind.
It'd be really good, wouldn't it, if this veteran working mother made some hay on workplace issues?