Working for a university as large as Michigan State, it may be difficult at times to find the resources that you need to succeed both in your career and in your personal life. The new MSU WorkLife Office was created to address this problem and provide one location for faculty and staff to obtain answers and resources pertaining to both career and family life.
We had a chance to sit down and talk with Dr. Barbara Roberts, the executive director of the WorkLife Office, in order to learn more about this new resource. Dr. Roberts described that the WorkLife Office “is here to ensure that faculty and staff have what they need to do their jobs as productively as they can.”
The office has five main focus areas: Family Care, Career Transitions, Workplace Assistance, Relocation and Community Connections, and Research. If you are a faculty or staff member with questions in any of these areas, be sure to head to their website for more information.
The WorkLife Office also sponsors many events throughout the year. One of those events, “Reflect and Connect: Navigating Life and Work Effectively in Challenging Times,” will take place next Friday, September 16. The WorkLife Office is co-hosting this event with the Employee Assistance Program and the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. “Reflect and Connect is an opportunity for people to come together and share what’s going on in the larger world beyond the campus and sometimes on the campus,” Dr. Roberts said.
Another upcoming event is the Fatherhood Forum, which will be held on Friday, September 30, at the Kellogg Center.
Since this is a brand new office, many people may have misconceptions about its purpose. “We are not replicating the services that other people are already doing,” Dr. Roberts said. “We are helping get people to those services. So we want to be the one-stop shop where you can come in and find out about everything on campus, put together your palette of resources that you need, and go out and paint your picture of work-life balance with the resources that are already here.”
The WorkLife Office strives to ensure inclusivity, she said. “One thing that we feel makes our office unique is our ability to focus a lens of diversity on work-life practices. So we look at, and we want to hear about, how concurrent work-life practices and benefits and resources on campus affect people from different populations. So sometimes things that we take for granted as being useful to everyone aren’t as effective in a certain population, a cultural group, or faculty of color, or international faculty, or any group that wants to draw on those provisions but maybe they weren’t designed with those folks in mind necessarily. And so you say, well wait a second, this doesn’t work for me in my culture or faith tradition or whatever it is, and we want to hear about those gaps so that we can be sure that the provisions that we put in place to help you are helpful.”
The WorkLife Office is located in Linton Hall. Parking is available across the street at the Grand River ramp or in any of the staff parking lots around West Circle. Contact the office at 517-353-1635 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A tour of the WorkLife Office will be available on October 3 as part of their Open House to kick-off Work and Family month. Learn more about the Open House.