July 23, 2001
Get ready, get set for flex time scheduling
Wynell Lauver is communications consultant for Human Resources.
In the coming months, you will be hearing a lot about Emorys flexible work arrangements initiative.
To enhance Emory as an employer of choice, its vital that
we seek ways to enhance worklife, said Alice Miller, vice president
for Human Resources.
Given Emorys parking situation, government clean-air standards,
and the ever-increasing commutes, we encourage departments to offer flexible
work schedules telecommuting and other alternative work arrangements for
employees whose jobs allow for it, Miller said.
In a recent report, the Presidents Commission on the Status of
Women outlined types of alternative work arrangements offered by various
University departments. The most popular arrangements are flex-time (where
the hours worked are flexible) and telecommuting (where the location worked
is flexible). Other, less common arrangements include job sharing, where
two people share duties and hours in the same or similar job, and working
extra hours during busy periods with the option to take time off during
There are a variety of possible flex-time arrangements, such as a 7 a.m.4
p.m daily schedule, or compressed workweeks, whereby employees work four
10-hour days with one weekday off.
Deb Moyers, director of resource planning for Facilities Management,
said most of the Building Services staff work flex hours, with some employees
starting as early as 6 a.m. and others as late as 9 a.m.
We are always open to new ideas, and flexible work schedules was
one that made sense, Moyers said. Employees can work the schedule
that suits their personal preference. We just make sure we are staffed
from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and so far its been an overwhelming success.
It really works well for us.
The chemistry department has a unique compressed workweek, according
to Donna Lawson, office manager. Employees who choose toand whose
jobs allow for itmay work one week with four nine-hour days (MondayThursday)
and an eight-hour Friday and the next week four 9-hour days with that
Friday off. Lawson said eight or 10 employees participate in this arrangement
and enjoy having Friday off every other week.
Program Development Specialist La Shanda Perryman, who switched to a
workweek of four 10-hour days, said her hours make her more productive.
Because I know I wont be in the office on Friday,I have to
plan my work and manage my time accordingly, she said. There
are times, however, when I need to wrap up loose ends on a Friday. But
overall, the positives of working a four-day week far outweigh the negativesjust
ask my toddler, who enjoys his moms three-day weekends.
Perrymans supervisor, HR Training Manager Sharon DeHaven, added,
Personally, I believe offering flexible work schedules demonstrates
a level of trust in your staff. We all benefit from offering alternative
work arrangements, if the job allows. Such arrangements reduce absenteeism,
lift staff morale and increase productivity.
Productivity is also the main reason Beverly Cormican, assistant vice
president for business management, chose to telecommute.
Instead of spending two hours in traffic, I am getting work done in my home office, she said.
When I started telecommuting, Id do it occasionally. But
as my commute time steadily increased, so did the days I chose to work
from home. Now its routine for me. With all the technologies available,
it was a seamless transition for both myself and my staff.
LaDonna Cherry, associate director of University Publications, echoed
that sentiment. When my commute kept getting longer and longer,
I realized I could use that time spent in traffic more effectively by
telecommuting. Working in my home office frees me from frequent interruptions,
too. In fact, my most productive day is Wednesday, when I telecommute.
Many supervisors are interested in offering flexible work arrangements
but dont know where to begin. A website is being developed to provide
a source for University policy. It will offer practical, how-to information
and support, as well as sample agreements/contracts between supervisors
Look for this site with resources for alternative work arrangements to come online sometime this fall.