As the employment environment evolves to reflect changing lifestyles and work-life values, new communication and information technologies, changes in business methods and approaches, and the nature of work itself, an increasing number of employers, both public and private, are exploring viable alternatives to the traditional 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday work schedule.

Alternative work arrangements may include initiatives such as flexible arrival or departure times around an established core schedule, called flex-schedules; variations in the number of hours in a day and days in the week that constitute a work week, called a compressed work-week; job-sharing with other employees; and performing scheduled work from home, called telecommuting.

Alternative work arrangements offer benefits to employers, employees and the community, such as:
• Improved morale and reduced stress levels among employees
• Increased customer service through expansion of operating hours
• Increased retention of valued staff
• Increased productivity
• Better planning for absences
• Decreased peak-hour traffic, parking congestion and commute times

The Division of Human Resources is working with the Staff Council to facilitate the introduction of cost-efficient programs designed to enhance the net value of employee total rewards in an era of stagnant pay rates and increasing benefit costs. One of the key objectives of this joint initiative is to educate managers and administrators on the benefits and workability of effective alternative work arrangements and to facilitate the implementation of such programs within the university's operating units.

We encourage managers to explore the feasibility of alternative work arrangements. Managers can learn more about flex-schedules and other options by accessing "Alternative Work Arrangements" at hr.unm.edu under the Managers/Supervisors Resource tab, then under Managing Employees.

Not all alternative work arrangements are appropriate to every work situation, and managers may wish to explore other innovative options beyond the examples provided in this guide. Contact a human resources consultant to discuss options for specific departments.

Story by Helen Gonzales, vice president, Human Resources