With Linda Harber, Vice President Human Resources/Payroll & Faculty/Staff Life
National Work & Family Month, in October, provides an opportunity to celebrate the progress we are making toward creating a work environment that enables us to thrive at work and at home. It is a reminder of how important it is to make sure we are meeting the needs of everyone working at Mason and are aware of the challenges that many face.
As a recipient of the WorldatWork Alliance for Work-Life Progress Seal of Distinction each year since 2012, George Mason has been recognized for establishing a culture that supports employees at work and at home. Helping faculty and staff navigate the everyday balancing act of managing family, work, and self is no easy task. But as an institution that is committed to becoming a model well-being university, we take the challenge very seriously.
Here are some current Mason initiatives in this area and some of the next steps we are planning.
- Strategic Planning Committee for Family Matters: Human Resources and Payroll has created this group to provide input on family resources needed today and in the future. The committee includes faculty and staff across the Mason community.
- Parental Leave: Mason’s nine-month faculty parental leave policy is in the final review process and will soon be available. We thank the many faculty members, working parent groups, the Faculty Senate, and members of the administration for helping us get this done!
- Expanded Child Care Services: We know how important child care is for many members of our community. We are researching a number of innovative ideas to expand capacity on the Fairfax Campus, and to provide options on the Arlington Campus and on the Science and Technology Campus.
- Flexible Work: We invited a faculty member and a graduate student in industrial and organizational psychology to conduct a survey on telework with Mason supervisors. They will share their preliminary findings at the “Dive into Your Strengths” Faculty-Staff Enrichment Day on November 10. We encourage all supervisors to consider the benefit that flexible work can provide to faculty and staff who in addition to working may be caring for their children and aging loved ones or facing a personal health issue or other challenge. The ability to telework can be a powerful tool to recruit, retain, and engage faculty and staff as well as put resources in place for continuity of operations.
- Collaborations for Well-Being: Several groups with expertise in well-being continue to offer services and programs that can help each of us become more resilient and able to cope with family-work tension. Initiatives such as Who’s Walking Wednesday, DMV2Go, on-site flu shot clinics, lactation spaces, and targeted resource and referral services in child care, eldercare, dual career, and relocation are available to remove stress and increase our well-being.
During National Work & Family Month, we encourage you to explore some of the services and programs available to you at Mason. Your colleagues are here to help and support you!