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UNH Receives Prestigious Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Flexibility

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UNH has received a 2011 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility, one of just three workplaces in the Granite State to receive the prestigious award.

The university will be presented with its award Wednesday evening, Sept. 21, 2011, at the YWCA New Hampshire in Manchester, which was a Sloan Award finalist. The event begins at 5:30 p.m.

“Employers that provide flexibility to their employees, with regard to where and how their work gets done, gain a tremendous financial benefit and competitive advantage in today’s economy. With workplace flexibility, UNH is better prepared for challenging state budget cycles by taking advantage of cost savings and better positioned to deliver the highest quality and value education to our students,” said Dick Cannon, vice president for administration and finance at UNH.

The Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility recognize model employers of all types and sizes across the United States for their innovative and effective workplace practices. More than 600 organizations nationwide applied for the award. UNH was among three from New Hampshire that received it. The other New Hampshire winners were MeetingMatrix and Families in Transition.

Using a rigorous scoring methodology that uses national benchmarks and emphasizes the real-life experiences of employees on the job, the Sloan Awards honor organizations that are using workplace flexibility as a strategy to make work work better — for both the employer and the employee. Workplace flexibility includes flex-time, part-time work, teleworking, compressed work weeks, job sharing, and remote work arrangements.

UNH applied for the award upon the recommendation of the UNH President’s Commission on the Status of Women, which has been evaluating best practices in workplace flexibility and assessing how to expand it at UNH. Capitalizing on the commission’s work, last spring UNH created a universitywide task force on workplace flexibility to develop polices and guidelines to support flexible work arrangements, while meeting the operational needs and goals of all UNH departments. Soon UNH plans to conduct a comprehensive survey of UNH employees to help identify additional workplace flexibility opportunities and strategies.

UNH believes workplace flexibility can support the university in a number of areas, including:

  • Capitalizing on new approaches to the allocation of time in pursuing our mission of teaching, research and service.
  • Recognizing the reality that employees increasingly face the challenge of balancing personal and professional demands, and that those demands may change during a UNH career.
  • Remaining competitive in recruiting and retaining talented employees by paying attention to contemporary practices of employers of choice.
  • Supporting a university interest in utilizing our physical assets more fully to achieve economies and increase revenue producing activity year round.
  • Mitigating the tendency of traditional calendars and schedules to lead to the need to maintain peak transportation, parking and energy capacity.
  • Taking advantage of new information technologies to make possible opportunities for many employees to effectively perform some work at home or in remote sites.
  • Supporting a strong performance-based culture focused on results whereby flexible work arrangements and a results orientation need not be at odds, but can be a win-win for the university and its staff.