Flexible Work Option Creates Nashville-Mason Connection

Posted: May 21, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Mason employees are doing their part to support the state’s initiative to have 20 percent of eligible Virginia state employees teleworking by 2010. Since the inception of a formal flexible work policy in 2002 initiated by Mason’s Office of Human Resources and Payroll (HR), hundreds of Mason employees have taken advantage of the opportunity.

Although the number is constantly changing, there are approximately 315 flexible work agreements in place for the current fiscal year.

Laurie Jones
Laurie Jones
Photo courtesy of Laurie Jones

Laurie Jones, human resources information systems development manager in HR, has been a remote worker from her home in Nashville, Tenn., since she joined Mason in October 2006.

Jones main responsibility is ensuring that the programs used to create employee paychecks, track employee benefits, generate W-2 tax forms, create direct deposits and ensure accurate salary increases are working properly.

She is also responsible for regularly updating and testing the programs provided by the software vendor.

Her position includes working with data, which she uses to create lists – such as e-mail lists or budget and finance lists – for a variety of needs.

“When my husband moved to Nashville, I began working remotely with another company that provides HR software to organizations,” says Jones. “Through this company I started working closely with people from Mason and began exploring open positions.”

From the beginning, Jones knew she would be working remotely in her new position at Mason, but her past experience working remotely with other companies made it a good fit.

With an office set up in her home, she uses many of the same programs used by employees who work on campus. According to Jones, working from her home with the programs she uses is the same as actually being in the office, except for the special security applications she must use on her computer.

Jones says that the benefits to her personally are being able to live in the same location as her husband while doing her job, being more productive at home and feeling more engaged in her position and with the university.

Having remote employees also benefits the university, Jones notes, pointing out, that Mason can recruit employees from a larger candidate pool and retain existing employees whose home life situation may require a move to another part of the state or even across country.

Although she loses valuable face time with her colleagues by not being in the office, Jones and her colleagues make sure to speak to one another at least once a day either by phone or through e-mail.

Jones travels to Virginia twice a year and works from the Fairfax Campus. During this time, she meets with her supervisor to plan for the upcoming year.

“I’m very grateful that everyone in my office is so supportive of using flexible work options and continues to make the effort to keep me involved so that I always know what’s going on in the office,” says Jones.

For more information on summer flex programs and other options, see the HR web site.

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