Dear Faculty and Staff,
An initiative of our Strategic Plan is to “lead the UNC System in enhancing the health and wellness of students and employees.” In 2011, the Staff Senate conducted a Morale Survey that indicated strong staff interest in flexible work hours as an important work/life initiative given these difficult financial times. In light of our Strategic Plan initiative and the results of the Staff Senate Morale Survey, I asked Dr. Edna Chun, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resource Services, to explore various options of what could be offered to staff to assist them with their work/life balance.
This past winter Staff Senate and Human Resource Services surveyed all staff in two independent surveys, regarding their preference and thoughts for ‘summer flexible hours’ options. The two new options under review would involve closing the university on Friday afternoon during certain weeks of the summer or adoption of a compressed workweek of four 10-hour days with choice of the day off. A third option would maintain the existing flexible work hours policy found here: http://web.uncg.edu/hrs/PolicyManuals/StaffManual/Section3/Flexible_Work/
The results overwhelmingly indicated a strong interest and desire of staff for a flexible work schedule.
After reviewing and discussing the survey results with the Executive Staff, I believe that our current Flexible Work Schedule Policy provides the most options to be successful for both employees and supervisors. The advantages of offering a flexible work schedule include enhanced work/life balance; availability of flexible hours to all departments and staff on a consistent basis; potential savings in commuting expenses and carbon emissions; enhancement of recruitment and retention and can be implemented for the summer or throughout the year. While this is a policy that can be used throughout the year, I encourage the deans and vice chancellors to consider a pilot program during the eight week summer period from Monday, June 11, 2012 through Friday, August 3, 2012.
While we want to provide flexibility in work schedules, offices must be mindful of two guiding principles that must be followed at all times:
- an office must have coverage from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and
- in compliance with Fair Labor Standards Act requirements, all full-time non-exempt employees must work 40 hours per a week. The University recognizes that many FLSA exempt employees work a significant number of hours beyond the standard work week of 40 hours.
While these rules are the overarching guidelines, in coordination with deans and vice chancellors, offices and departments are encouraged to create flexible schedules that work best for the department. If you are interested in participating in a flexible work schedule, I recommend discussion of potential options with your supervisor. Keep in mind that the nature of some positions and offices may not allow for this option; however, I am hopeful that most units can find a way to implement a flexible structure, particularly during the summer months.
If you are a supervisor, I encourage you to work with your department, dean, and/or vice chancellor to implement a flexible work schedule for your staff. The Human Resource Services department is available if you need assistance, ideas or guidance with the implementation of a flexible work schedule for your unit. With limited resources and fewer employees due to budget cuts, we all need to think more creatively and strategically in managing our departments.
We are very interested in knowing how this policy is being implemented. If you implement a flexible work schedule, whether you are a supervisor or a staff member, please let Human Resource Services know. We want to share success stories and ideas with others. Additionally, if there are challenges, or you feel as if this will not work for your area, Human Resource Services needs to hear about those as well. Dr. Chun can be reached at email@example.com.
As we approach the summer months and continue to see the price of gasoline increase, I strongly encourage all supervisors to review the current policy and, if at all possible, approve a flexible work schedule for any employee interested in participating. Finally, I want to thank Staff Senate and Human Resource Services for the thoughtful work they have done on this issue.
With Spartan Pride,
Linda P. Brady