Emory Report
July 6, 2009
Volume 61, Number 34


Emory Report homepage  

July 6, 2009
Is your work-life effective?

By Kim Urquhart

For many employees, balancing a career, a family and a healthy lifestyle is often a juggling act. Emory has long offered flexibility and convenience to help employees manage their work-life effectiveness, and now has a virtual hub for work-life programs and services.

Emory’s WorkLife Resource Center (www.worklife.emory.edu) is designed to strengthen the University’s work-life culture and building new programs.

“Emory knows that employees are happier and healthier if they have more balance in their lives and have more quality time for doing the things most important to them,” says John Kosky, the Center’s associate director. “Our goal is to help employees be more productive both personally and professionally by providing resources to address work-life issues.”

From information about dependent care, financial savings and the University’s health and fitness programs, to work-life benefits that help employees manage their work-life effectiveness, the Center is a gateway for information.

When it launched this spring, the first step was to integrate Emory’s extensive work-life tools, policies and programs into a central location that faculty and staff can access online, any time.

Closely integrated with the Faculty Staff Assistance Program, the Center is operated by a team of work-life experts from Human Resources. The WorkLife staff are available to help faculty and staff dig deeper into the unique programs Emory offers, and to learn more about beneficial programs in the community, says Vice President of Human Resources Peter Barnes.

The Center strives to save employees time and money, partnering with vendors to bring cost saving opportunities for dependent care and other resources, or compiling a summer camp directory guide for Emory families.

“If we make things like this convenient for faculty and staff, it means they don’t have to spend their time seeking it out from multiple sources,” says Barnes.

Programs that focus on employees’ time and health are particularly important in an economic downturn, notes Kosky. Research shows that employees seek out employers that offer a better work-life balance, and work harder for those that do.

“The volume of content available at the WorkLife Resource Center demonstrates the depths to which we have resources and programs to support work-life,” says Barnes. “As a progressive employer, this is how we can help. We want people to choose to work here, and also choose to stay here.”

Positioning Emory as a destination workplace was among the recommendations outlined in a report issued by the Work Life Initiative Task Force, charged by the president to examine a range of practices, programs and processes that would address the concerns of an increasingly diverse faculty, staff and student population in a competitive global market. This initiative is a part of Emory’s Strategic Plan “Creating Community-Engaging Society” theme.

Faculty and staff can track the status of each of the Task Force’s recommendations through progress reports on the site. A recent example is news that Emory has approved automatic extension of the tenure clock for the birth or adoption of a child.

“The Task Force envisioned an ethos of engaged reciprocity. Our goal was to further enhance Emory as a community that embraces a culture of joy and provides opportunities for both the University and its people to thrive,” explains Rosemary Magee, vice president and secretary of the University, who co-chaired the Task Force with Barnes.

The Center is now guided by an advisory committee of representatives from across the University — including parents of children with special needs and faculty members who study work-life — and an Executive Steering Committee who champions work-life programs and provides vision, oversight and strategic direction.

The Center is already generating interest from employees, and more offerings will be rolled out in waves.
“Over time we want our work-life resources program to stack up to the very best,” says Barnes, “and we are always listening to faculty and staff for more suggestions.”