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Help for Those Who Care for Others

by D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs
posted August 26, 1998

To assist faculty and staff with dependent care needs, such as attending to elderly family members or children, several campus departments and organizations are co-sponsoring a brown-bag lecture series on balancing work and family life.

The lectures, presented each Thursday noon from Sept. 3 to Oct. 1 in 375 Le Conte, will highlight the benefits and services Berkeley offers.

The Sept. 17 talk will cover flexible work arrangements -- working hours other than the standard 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday. Flexible schedules make it easier for staff to deal with issues beyond the workplace, such as dependent care.

"Flexible work arrangements are a great way to balance an employee's personal needs or preferences with the department's need to provide effective and efficient services," said Margo Wesley, associate staff ombuds who has written a guide for staff on flexible work arrangements. "Flex time can enhance the morale, loyalty and performance of employees while helping supervisors and managers recruit and retain staff more effectively," said Wesley.

Options include compressed work weeks (4 ten-hour days), flexible hours, telecommuting, job sharing and partial-year appointments. Arrangements can be fixed, variable or combined to suit the needs of individual employees and departments.

Step one, according to Wesley: get a copy of "Flexible Work Arrangements: A Guide for Staff." The guide provides information on the type of arrangements available at Berkeley, criteria for choosing an arrangement, answers to common misconceptions about flexible work arrangements and a checklist for developing a flexible arrangement proposal.

Departmental requests for the guide should be sent to the Staff Ombuds Office at 2539 Channing Way, MC 5140. Include a self-addressed campus envelope with the request. This information is also included in the guide for Balancing Work and Family, available online at

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