Published December 15, 2022
Of the major institutions in daily life, few receive more hours of the day than the workplace. Yet too often, building social trust and broader interpersonal relationships ignores the very real role that work can play in building the kind of connections that lead to stronger social capital.
The workplace can also play an important role in establishing, or degrading, the social fabric that surrounds workers and their families. A workplace that gives employees dedicated time away to invest in their community will create space for organic social capital formation. One that leaves workers at the mercy of unpredictable scheduling will make it harder for parents to attend, for example, PTA meetings. Any agenda that focuses on social capital should include a focus on steps employers can take to boost social capital among their employees.
While public policy can strengthen social capital, employers can also play a substantial, voluntary role in strengthening the associations and institutions which can create a better environment for stronger families and communities. Firms could address the following problems as priorities:
– The demands of the workplace making it difficult for workers to fulfill their role as parents, impeding family formation and youth investment.
– Many workers, especially parents, finding it hard to balance their preferred work-life tradeoff, making it difficult to fully participate in civil society.
– Increased disconnection in the workplace harming individuals’ earning potential and social cohesion.
Please continue reading with the Social Capital Campaign. Patrick’s essay begins on page 53.
Patrick T. Brown is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where his work with the Life and Family Initiative focuses on developing a robust pro-family economic agenda and supporting families as the cornerstone of a healthy and flourishing society.