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Study will help quantify how life balance improves job performance

March 31, 2010

Cincinnati State’s Workforce Development Center is working with a Cincinnati-based psychologist to help employers promote a healthy balance between work and the other aspects of their employees’ lives.

The program, known and marketed worldwide as FlexLife™, was developed by Dr. Barbara McFarland, a consultant, motivational speaker and author and Kristen English, a cultural diversity consultant based in Singapore.

Dr. McFarland’s program was initially a response to surveys by an international corporation based in Greater Cincinnati which found that employees, particularly women in their 20s and 30s, wanted greater balance and flexibility in their personal and work lives. In many instances, the company found, the lack of such life balance was an obstacle to retention and advancement.

The FlexLife™ program initially focused primarily on women employees, but as word spread its reach was broadened and it became a tool designed to help all employees identify tools and strategies for integrating various aspects of their lives. Over time it evolved into a comprehensive program that also aims to improve the morale and productivity of employees across a full range of life spans.

The FlexLife™ program is built around a Four Quadrant Life Balance Model (Support, Work, Personal and Family) and includes personal online assessments as well as group seminars and individualized coaching sessions.

As part of the effort to devise a quantifiable system for measuring results, the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati has agreed to participate in a six-month study involving the FlexLife program that began in January, 2010. Approximately 100 volunteers are participating in the program. They will complete surveys before, during and after the program. Researchers will analyze the data and will also measure productivity, health care costs, absenteeism and turnover statistics for participants and a control group.

"Although we have positive subjective data on the effectiveness of the program, we knew we needed to get hard data to continue our sales and marketing efforts to other industries," Dr. McFarland said.

Dr. Dennis Ulrich, Executive Director of the Workforce Development Center, said he welcomes the collaboration with Dr. McFarland and the Health Alliance and sees a role for the College in helping employers promote the overall health, well-being and productivity of their employees.

“We are confident that we will see strong results in several areas based on the metrics we have established,’’ Dr. Ulrich said. “This will also enable the Alliance to provide additional services and training services to their employees which the Workforce Development Center hopes to support. Given the increasing stress and turbulence in the workplace, the need for a program of this type is increasingly more important.”

About Cincinnati State
Cincinnati State offers more than 75 associate degree and 40 certificate programs in business technologies, health and public safety, engineering technologies, humanities and sciences and information technologies. About 11,300 students are enrolled in the Winter 2010 term. Cincinnati State has one of the largest cooperative education programs in the United States.

About the Workforce Development Center
The Workforce Development Center (WDC), housed at Cincinnati State’s Evendale campus, provides career training for individuals and meets the needs of corporations, government agencies, and not-for-profits for high-value workforce education and training that fits their specific content, timetable, and location requirements. Organizations of all sizes count on WDC experts to enhance their employees’ professional skills, teach new skills, re-train, and deliver highly customized, hands-on training programs at our Evendale facility or at other sites of their choice. Workforce Development Center services cover four major areas: industrial training; HAZMAT, rescue and safety; professional, managerial and leadership training; and health business.

About Dr. Barbara McFarland
Dr. Barbara McFarland earned an EdD in counseling psychology from the University of Cincinnati. She is a psychologist, corporate consultant, author, trainer, media guest (Oprah, The Today Show, The Diane Rehm Show), and motivational speaker. As co-founder and partner of FlexLife®, LLC, she has developed scalable life balance tools and assessments which include a website-based self-directed learning experience ( as well as intensive seminars that focus on behaviorally based life balance solutions and strategies for greater productivity and morale. Dr. McFarland has authored eight books, including “The Balanced Life’’ (2006) which is part of the core curriculum of the FlexLife® seminar, Choices & Strategies. In addition, she has been invited to present her clinical work at Harvard University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, has conducted corporate training classes as part of the Xavier Consulting Group, and has give multiple keynote speeches at women's health conferences. Dr. McFarland has also designed and delivered diversity programs related to life balance throughout North America, Asia, South America and Western Europe for such clients as Procter & Gamble, General Electric, Cinergy, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ernst & Young, and the Xavier Consulting Group of Cincinnati.


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