This fall, Georgian Court University will become the first higher education institution in New Jersey, and one of the few universities across the country, to offer employees a 4-day compressed workweek option year-round—instead of just during the summer.
“We are pleased to take another step forward in our ongoing efforts to proactively address and meet the changing needs of our incredible staff to provide them with the flexibility to both excel at their jobs and to create a more realistic work-life balance,” said Dr. Joseph Marbach, President of Georgian Court University.
The 4-day option will be available to some 220 full and part-time staff members upon schedule approval from their supervisors. The university will continue to be operational five days a week and run at the same high level of efficiency to meet the needs students, faculty and the entire university community.
“Our core values are about taking care of the individual, and for years we have encouraged and successfully accommodated flexible hours. It is a system that works for us and our employees,” said Dianna Sofo, Director of Human Resources at GCU. “This program is voluntary and employees who choose to work a four-day workweek schedule will be expected to work their normal number of hours, just in a compressed workweek that better meets their needs.”
Sofo noted that the university does offer generous time-off policies and vacation time, but this option will help employees avoid having to “burn” a PTO or vacation day and reduce the stress of trying to juggle appointments and family commitments that occur during workday business hours.
In addition, remote work has become the standard for some 50 percent of university operations. She explained, “A lot of positions that aren’t public or student-facing are still fully remote, while others only require staff to be on campus one day a week. This started out of necessity during COVID, but our staff appreciates the flexibility, and it has become a permanent flexible work option.”
GCU will also unveil another new benefit for employees to give back to those who are not able to take advantage of the telecommuting option – 45 free meal credits each semester – that can be used in the Raymond Dining Hall. All employees who meet the criteria will automatically receive the credits on their ID cards.
The ideas for the 4-day compressed workweek and the free meal program both stemmed from a Staff Roundtable Committee comprised of volunteers from around the university. Both pilot programs will be launched at the start of the fall semester on August 22, 2022.
“Universities in Europe have been offering these kinds of work-life balance programs to their employees for years,” said President Marbach. “GCU is proud to be leading the effort in New Jersey to make this kind of commitment to attract and keep the best and brightest employees, and to find ways to improve the university experience for our entire community.”