David Leonard and Austin Leach, groundskeepers at the University of Richmond, work on their own each afternoon from 3-5 p.m., while their colleagues and supervisors leave at 3 p.m. That is, every day except for Wednesday. David and Austin have every Wednesday off, their reward for their otherwise 10-hour days. And they like it that way.
David and Austin have flexible work arrangements, allowing David to care for his 8-month old daughter and Austin to save money on his 45-minute commute while taking classes during the day every Wednesday. David started his flexible work arrangement last October, shortly after returning from paternity leave, and Austin started his in January.
The University of Richmond implemented a Flexible Work Arrangement policy in 2014 to support the changing needs of employees and supervisors. Flexible working includes flextime and flexplace, and can look different based on the desire of the employee and/or needs of the department. Flextime includes varying starting and departure times or length of the workday. Flexplace allows employees to work from home or another off-site location.
David and Austin’s supervisors, Mike Torquato and Karen Williams, appreciate that it extends the department’s hours. “We’re able to dictate what they do for those two hours and it’s always good for them to be here in case something happens,” Karen says. “And their morale is higher because they can do it. It’s been working,” Mike adds.
For Austin, the main benefit is the ability to take a full extra day of classes. “I don’t want to spend 11 semesters to get an Associates. The flexible work option is the difference between a class per semester and 3-4 classes per semester.”
David, who is also taking Tuesday night classes toward his Master’s degree, covets extra time with his daughter. “On Tuesdays I don’t even see my daughter because of class, so having the entire day to spend with her is invaluable. There are so many dads who would love to spend that extra time with their son or daughter and they can’t, and I know I’m really lucky to have that opportunity.”
Although Austin admits that seeing his colleagues leave at 3 p.m. every Friday is hard, he loves his break in the middle of the week. “Every day I’m working is either my first day back or my last day before a break. It’s really nice.”
For more information about the University’s Flexible Work Arrangement policy, visit the Human Resources website.