This Working Life

Flexible Work OptionsDuring the founding of the Michigan State University WorkLife Office, I met with various campus leaders and a common thread during these conversations emerged about the challenges in making fair decisions about different employees’ individual work - life circumstances. Leaders reported feeling uncomfortable making different decisions for different people, based on the individual’s unique situation. Sometimes the uncertainty about how to handle this results in simply denying requests (flex time or leave), or having universal but ill - fitting practices that are not satisfactory to anyone involved. A protocol that is responsive to individual circumstances, accountable and transparent through consistency, while protecting individual privacy seems to be needed. Such processes build trust and foster teamwork among department members and with leadership. My background in equitable decision - making through consistency of analysis led me to develop a protocol for such administrative decisions.

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Work adn Family Researchers NetworkI’ve just had the opportunity to attend the Work Family Research Network (WFRN) conference in Washington D.C. I wore both my hat as a practitioner from Stanford, but also as the President of College and University WorkLife and Family Association (CUWFA). During the conference I heard the presentation of a number of fascinating papers that reflected so many of the themes we as practitioners see in our work every single day. With over 100 breakout sessions, with three to four papers presented in each, I didn’t even come close to hearing all of the great work being represented at WFRN. However, what was abundantly clear and reflected in the research hypotheses, observations, and paper presentations I heard were the realities of the parents and employees we touch with our programs, services and interventions. The data being collected by these researchers supports the work we do every day as practitioners.

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Employee Financial WellnessSeven out of ten American workers say financial concerns are their most common cause of stress. People generally avoid financial management because it is fraught with personal taboos, takes time and effort, and they often lack confidence in their financial literacy.

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Dual Career Assistance College UniversityDual-career matters are often a significant component of faculty recruitment and retention.  In fact, you can’t talk about faculty recruitment and retention without talking about dual-career, and you can’t talk about dual-career without talking about faculty recruitment and retention.  Since the majority of our faculty have working partners and spouses—some of whom are academics and others who work in many other professions--providing dual-career assistance, among other kinds of work and life support, is often crucial for a successful recruitment for the institution and a productive experience for our faculty families.

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CUWFA GenerationsDid you know that there are five different generations alive in the world today? Why is this so important for we who work in academia?

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Employee WellnessIn this climate of tension between shrinking organizational resources and relentless personal and professional demands on employees, we need to keep a sustained focus on investing in employee wellness. Employee wellness is not just a “nice to have” option as employers reap great rewards, including increased productivity and engagement, reduced medical and disability costs, and reduced absenteeism.

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