Mason Wins Award for Workplace Flexibility

Posted: November 17, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: November 16, 2010 at 4:03 pm

By Robin Herron

Mason’s Fairfax Campus has been selected as a recipient of the 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility in the at-large category.

The award is part of When Work Works, a national project on workplace flexibility and workplace effectiveness from Families and Work Institute in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce and the Twiga Foundation, with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

According to the sponsor, the award recognizes employers that are successfully using flexibility as part of an effective workplace strategy to achieve business goals, thereby benefitting employees by helping them meet their responsibilities on and off the job.

For the purposes of the award, flexibility includes more than flexible work schedules. Such factors as offering job-sharing options and giving employees control over when to take breaks were also considered.

“We are delighted to receive this recognition for Mason’s workplace practices,” says Linda Harber, associate vice president for human resources. “The university administration encourages a flexible work culture and, in fact, one of the consistent responses in Quality of Work Life surveys is employee appreciation for the flexibility they have at work.

“Just recently we received a wonderful note from an employee who was able to work out a flexible schedule with his supervisor when he needed time to be with a family member. It’s this kind of flexibility and compassion that Mason is proud to support.”

A survey of Mason employees on their access to flexible work options and the supportiveness of the culture was part of the selection process. In addition, the university’s responses on an employer survey were measured against national data from Families and Work Institute’s (FWI) National Study of Employers.

According to FWI, studies of employees and employers have found that flexibility is a key ingredient in creating effective workplaces that can yield important work-related outcomes. Employees in effective and flexible workplaces report having greater engagement on the job, greater job satisfaction, greater desire to stay with the organization, better overall health and lower stress levels.

As a recipient of the 2010 Sloan Awards, Mason ranks in the top 20 percent of employers nationally in terms of its programs, policies and culture for creating an effective and flexible workplace.

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