In today's competitive business environment, employees seek jobs that not only offer financial security, but also have autonomy, meaning and the opportunity for development and advancement. Employees also want time to pursue personal interests and enjoy time outside of the workplace. Responding to these needs is nothing new for IBM. We're committed to creating a supportive, flexible work environment while providing benefits and services that help IBMers in their lives outside of work.

More than two decades ago, IBM launched the first national corporate child care initiative that evolved into a five-year, $25 million IBM Funds for Dependent Care Initiative to help employees manage their work and personal responsibilities. In 2001, the company created the Global Work/Life Fund with a five-year, $50 million commitment – the first fund of its kind to address employee work/life issues on a global basis. The Fund is now active in 42 countries and has a continued focus on increasing the supply and improving the quality of dependent care in communities where IBMers work and live. It provides a full range of dependent care services for young children, school-age children, elders; and employees themselves who are caregivers of children and elders.

Since 1983, IBM has committed more than $263 million to dependent care programs and services around the world, and we are frequently recognized by non-governmental organizations, public institutions, and business publications for our commitment to helping employees manage work/life issues.

IBM is committed to creating a supportive, flexible work environment that gives employees more flexibility and control over their work as an important means to achieve greater work/life balance and enhanced productivity. Employees have said that balancing their responsibilities for work, family, education and other commitments is becoming increasingly difficult under traditional work schedules. Their ability to address work and family is a critical factor in their decision to stay with IBM. Customers need us to meet commitments, any place, at any time.

To address these employee and business needs, IBM has developed six flexibility principles:

The Enterprise doesn't stop: In a Globally Integrated Enterprise, the enterprise never stops working. Somewhere in the world, IBMers are working on solutions for our clients. That does not mean all employees work 24/7 and 365 days a year.

Balancing of needs: Flexibility encompasses how, where and when work gets done and it is a tool for getting work done. IBM is committed to providing its employees the greatest degree of flexibility while balancing the needs of our clients, our business, team effectiveness and the individual IBM employee.

Trust and personal responsibility: Consistent with our core value of "trust and personal responsibility in all relationships", IBM expects managers and employees to make decisions, including those about flexibility options, consistent with this value and to demonstrate personal responsibility to ensure business commitments.

Range of options: Flexible work options are a vehicle for IBM to meet the needs of our global clients and can be employee or management initiated however all options must be management approved. Open dialog is important to understand and secure support for the most flexible option, which may include varied work times, part-time, job-share, work from home, etc, depending on the needs of the business division, client or individual employee.

Understanding differences: Operating effectively in the "new world of work", and in a Globally Integrated Enterprise, requires sensitivity to a broad range of differences. This requires every IBMer to exercise care and judgment to consider the needs of our global stakeholders — clients, colleagues, and the communities in which we operate. Each of us must take responsibility to explore, understand and reflect differences in culture, customs, time of day, holidays, language, business requirements, the personal needs of stakeholders and the impact of our decisions on business dealings. Careful inquiry and dialog is required as is the need to adapt and be flexible, as appropriate, to best meet the needs of everyone concerned: business, clients and employees.

Focus on results: Work is something you do, not a place you go. Focus on results, setting goals and measuring performance. The new world of work provides an opportunity for an outstanding experience for IBM employees and clients alike.

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