Georgian Court University will become the first college or university in the state – and one of the few around the country – to offer employees a four-day compressed workweek option year-round, instead of just during the summer.
The university announced the change July 11.
“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 Georgian Court University President Joseph Marbach.
The four-day option will be available to some full- and part-time staffers and must be approved by supervisors. Georgian Court will continue to be operational five days a week and run at the same level to meet the needs students and faculty.
“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 GCU Director of Human Resources Dianna Sofo. “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.”
The option is intended to help employees avoid having to use paid time off or vacation days for appointments and family commitments that occur during the workweek.
Sofo noted that 50% of university operations now occur remote.
“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,” she said.
For those employees who can’t work remote, GCU will offer 45 free meal credits each semester that can be used in the Raymond Dining Hall.
Both the ideas for the compressed workweek and the free meal program stemmed from a Staff Roundtable Committee. The pilot programs launched at the start of the fall semester on Aug. 22.
“Universities in Europe have been offering these kinds of work-life balance programs to their employees for years,” said 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.”
Earlier this month, Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway announced a pilot program for employees to work part-time at home and part-time on campus. Rutgers launched the flexible work program in response to lessons learned during the COVID pandemic and from its 25-member Future of Work Task Force’s short- and long-term recommendations.r