Re-Work It: Recalibrating Our Work-Life Balance

Monday, February 25, 2013 - Friday, March 1, 2013

The President’s Commission on Work-Life-Family presents “Re-Work It: Recalibrating Our Work-Life Balance” from Monday, February 25 to Friday, March 1.  “Re-Work It” is a one-week community conversation and experiment in new work patterns and habits.  Each department and/or work group will be invited to take one action during the week to improve work-life balance, with particular emphasis on workload issues.  There will also be numerous opportunities to participate in campus conversations on topics pertaining to work-life-family.  A full schedule of events can be found below.  We hope that you will take the time to “Re-Work It” with us!

Campus Conversations

See the campus conversations page for more detailed descriptions of each conversation.

Monday, February 25, 2013

  • 8:30-9:30 am: Travel and Workload
    Cassani Lounge (Shattuck Hall) with Chuck Ramsay, David Sanford, and Diana Alvarez
  • 4-5 pm: Are You Sleeping with Your Smartphone: Technology and Workload
    Stimson Room (Library) with Elizabeth Pyle and Megan Nunez
  • 4-5 pm: Faking It: Imposter Syndrome and Success at MHC
    Cassani Lounge (Shattuck Hall) with KC Haydon, Elizabeth Thompson, and Katrina Borowiec

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

  • 8-9 am: Flexibility
    Blanchard Great Room with Chris Abbuhl (Light resfreshments will be provided.)
  • 12-1 pm: Caregiving Responsibilities
    Cassani Lounge (Shattuck Hall) with Krista Denno and Matt McKeever (Please feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.)
  • 1-2 pm: Balance, Boundaries, and Burnout: Creating an Ideal Career
    Cassani Lounge (Shattuck Hall) with Liz Markovits and Linda Samano

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

  • 12-1pm: Class and Rank Issues in the Workplace
    Cassani Lounge (Shattuck Hall) with Lauren Cook and Amy Martin (Please feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

  • 1-2 pm: A Positive Path to Re-Work It: Recalibrating with Appreciative Inquiry
    Stimson Room (Library) with Jennifer Sanborn
  • 4-5 pm: Working Ourselves to Death  (Taboo Dialogue)
    Blanchard Lounge 227 with Rene Davis and Karen Remmler (co-sponsored by Student Programs)

Friday, March 1, 2013

  • 10-11am: Diff'rent Strokes for Diff'rent Folks: Appreciating Multiple Work-Life Balance Models Based on Work Styles, Life Styles, and Generation
    Cassani Lounge (Shattuck Hall) with Lori Hendricks
  • 12-1pm: The Work-Life Balance Across The Lifespan: Aging and Retirement
    Cassani Lounge (Shattuck Hall) with Laurie Priest (Please feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.)

Department Actions

The Commission asks supervisors to lead their department or work group in identifying and implementing a shared action they can take together to experiment in working differently or to recalibrate their current work-life balance. The Commission's planning team has brainstormed the following ideas for work group actions, and welcomes supervisors to begin now to identify an action that fits their team’s needs:

  • Identify persistently undone work and enlist group action on it: what work to-dos have remained undone over a long period and worry you at home?  Could this week be an opportunity to focus on and complete any of those items, or to confirm whether their completion is truly necessary?
  • Ask yourselves if the technology you use in your work contributes to a healthy work/life balance. Is this the week to share best practices in using the tools you have? Experiment with a software feature or practice you’ve been meaning to try that might improve efficiency? Complete cross-training that would give your group more options to optimize or share the load of particular tasks?
  • Talk together about your group’s work practices, how those interact with individuals’ work-life boundaries or stressors, and how better to shape the expectations of and within your group. Could you share samples from your syllabus, other documents, or conversations that worked for you in shaping others’ expectations about after-hours contact with you? Could you experiment this week with a different meeting schedule? With greater alignment or less alignment in your work schedules? With some small flexibility that might ease a particular work/life flashpoint?
  • Identify the moments in the year when your group feels pressed to work beyond a workday’s capacity. Could you brainstorm or take proactive measures this week to attempt to smooth or ease that seasonal workload stress?
  • Have you shared the important commitments in your life beyond work?  What are the particular stress points for you in honoring those commitments, and what might your work group do to help each other advance and honor those commitments?  Child- and elder-care strategies and resources? Professional development?  Encouragement for other life goals and priorities?
  • Experiment with something to make your workgroup’s practices more healthy. Have you tried walking meetings? A guarantee of no-meetings during lunch for this week? At least 20 minutes away from your desk at lunchtime? A daily office-wide 3pm seventh-inning stretch? Could you designate a couple of hour-long periods this week when everyone will try to reduce interruptions and focus on projects requiring sustained concentration? Could every member of your team pledge to ensure they take at least one “work respite” evening this week where they agree not to do any work after leaving the College at their usual time?

The Commission's hope is that these conversations and initial actions will empower members of the faculty and staff to make small, on-going changes that will positively affect their sense of work-life integration.  When your department and/or work group has developed an action, please use the online form to share your idea.

See the most up-to-date version of department and/or work group actions for some ideas and to see what your colleagues are up to! (MHC username and password are required when prompted.)

Additional Opportunity

The Commission encourages the Mount Holyoke community to attend the "Lilly Ledbetter and Her Fight for Equal Pay" public lecture and panel discussion featuring Lilly Ledbetter with panelists Marcia Greenberger, Judith Lichtman, and Mariko Chang.  The event, moderated by Judith Lonnquist '62 and sponsored by the Weissman Center, takes place Tuesday, February 26 at 7 pm in Chapin Auditorium.