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January 21, 2016

UPG launches trial flextime program

The first campus-wide flextime program undertaken by a regional campus is reported to be off to a good start.

Mary Anne Koleny, director of human resources at Pitt-Greensburg, says the UPG program is being piloted to offer more office hours to serve the campus community better, as well as to provide work/life balance options for staff.

Full-time staff members who are not union members, police officers or library staffers are eligible to participate.

While official University work hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Koleny’s office, for instance, is using the flextime program to extend its hours to 7:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Koleny says she does not know how many UPG offices and staff members are participating in the flextime program. However, she adds, for those participating “I get the sense that it is working very well. It improves morale, because people feel they are able to maintain that balance between work, family.”

That’s been the experience so far of Chris Guzik, administrative assistant in University Relations and Institutional Advancement at Greensburg, who had worked 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., with an hour lunch, until this past September.

The new flextime policy allowed her to arrange with her supervisor to work 8 a.m.-4 p.m., with a half-hour lunch, Monday-Friday. She and her six departmental colleagues have chosen different flextime spans —7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. — that suit their personal schedules and simultaneously increase service hours for the office’s patrons.

Her supervisor has even pre-approved a bit of flextime-within-flextime, Guzik says: “If we need to take an entire hour for lunch, we can adjust our schedule.

“It’s a great opportunity to have a more flexible lifestyle,” she reports. “It’s just a more balanced lifestyle for a working mom. I’m able to come in and get my work done but at the same time I’m freed up to make doctor’s appointments. And with my kids playing sports, I can move my schedule and it doesn’t negate from my work.

“So far we have decided to [continue],” she adds. “It is working — the office is covered and the work is getting done. It makes for a happier work environment — it gives less stress.”


Koleny cautions, however, that flextime must be set up ahead of time, with supervisor approval. She is not certain whether the program will continue beyond this term. It is still “subject to change depending on the needs of the campus,” she says. But she is pleased with it so far. “It adds to productivity potentially because it feels like the [University] is working with [participants] and vice versa.”

Stephen M. Ferber, assistant vice chancellor for Human Resources, notes that “there is nothing in writing per se, no policy” governing the use of flextime by any University department or office.

“It is more of a practice,” he says. “It’s really done toward providing service to the University community — and that varies by unit,” he explains, depending on whether the unit deals primarily with students, faculty, staff members or a combination. Flextime also allows an office to be open longer hours without the University paying employees overtime.

“We leave it to each of the business units to decide what they want to do,” he says. Greensburg put its policy in writing because it covered the entire campus, he explained.

The University’s HR department doesn’t track the use of flextime, but Ferber says he has seen no issues with it.

“In this case, no news is good news,” he concludes.

—Marty Levine  

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