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May 13, 2002

Alternative work options now online

By Stephanie Sonnenfeld


Across campus, flex-scheduling, telecommuting, job sharing and condensed work weeks are moving from ideas discussed in theory to ideas practiced on daily basis by many Emory employees.

And a new website from Human Resources and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) hopes to act as a guide for both managers and employees interested in participating in alternative work schedules. The website ( is designed and maintained by HR and is slated for a May 15 debut.

The site is based on recommendations from the PCSW’s report on alternative work arrangements at Emory that was released last summer and produced under the guidance of Allison Adams, former chair of the Alternative Work Arrangements Taskforce. The report examines the pluses and minuses of such situations and it also offers guidelines on making arrangements benefit both employees and managers.

The report stems from an open forum for the PCSW’s 1999 “Invisible Barriers to Women’s Advancement at Emory” study. Promoting alternative work schedules and developing programs to enhance the work environment were mentioned repeatedly at the event. As a result, the PCSW staff concerns committee researched the subject during 2000–01, with the blessing of President Bill Chace.

“[Alternative work schedules] absolutely depend, case by case, situation by situation, on the given worker and his/her work environment,” Chace said. “These need to be worked out in each and every case. There is no ‘template.’”

While there is no template, the new website does act as a guide for those interested in adopting alternative work arrangements, said Adair Maller, director of HR’s Center for Organizational Development. Maller, along with the PCSW’s Margie Silver and Lynn Kenney (current chair of the PCSW’s alternative work committee) and Beth Grubb (communications manager for HR) helped to produce the site.

“Since there are so many different kinds and types of alternative work arrangements, some will work with our organization and some will not work in the Emory community,” Maller said. “We wanted to put information on the website that would be tailored to the Emory community.”

Definitions, scenarios and pros and cons of all work arrangement situations are found on the site, as are links to other public and private business websites exploring similar options. HR also hopes to produce and distribute a brochure with the same information as the website, Maller and Kenney said.

Kenney said she and her committee plan to continually update the initial report and are in the process of collecting testimonials from employees who participate in alternative work arrangements. Those testimonials will be added to the website, she said.

HR invites any employees with alternative work schedules to share their experiences on its new website.

Please contact Adair Maller at 404-727-7591 or e-mail