White House looks at 'flexible workplace' technologies

The Obama administration is holding a Forum on Workplace Flexibility today at the White House, where CEOs, small business owners and other labor experts will discuss ways to help working parents.

A large part of the forum will focus on how technology can assist workers in telecommuting and increasing productivity so they have more time to spend with their families. You can watch part of the forum at 1:15 today, streamed live from the White House.

“Millions of women and men across the country struggle to balance the demands of their jobs and the needs of their families. Too often, caring for a child or an aging parent can strain a career-- sometimes to the point of job loss,” Obama said in a press release announcing the summit.

 “As the parents of two young girls, Michelle and I understand the challenges America’s working families face and we are looking forward to hearing from moms, dads, business leaders, advocates and experts about their ideas for creating and encouraging flexible workplaces, so that working Americans do not have to choose between their careers and meeting the needs of their families,” he said.

LiveOps is one company that plans to attend the forum. LiveOps uses the Internet to manage call centers, allowing workers to carry out their duties remotely.

 “We applaud the President and First Lady for recognizing the need for a sustainable work model that meets the needs of everyone from parents to students entering the workforce to people living in rural communities far from the center of business commerce," said LiveOps CEO Maynard Webb.

The Office of Personnel Management has tried to promote telework within the federal government for over a decade, but it hasn't taken off in most agencies. Some groups have criticized the government's "flexible workplace" policies as being too rigid. Consumer groups have made telework a case for broadband in rural areas to open up more job opportunities.