2016 WorkLife Conference

Honoring Your Work and Personal Lives: Implementing Flexibility

Thursday, October 20, 2016

University Club, Heritage Room

The WorkLife Office-hosted conference, “Honoring Your Work and Personal Lives: Implementing Flexibility,” focused on helping staff and faculty at Michigan State University achieve high performance goals through flexibility in work and personal lives.

Conference Schedule

8:30 a.m. - 8:40 a.m. Welcome by Dr. Barbara Roberts
8:40 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Keynote Address by Dr. Ellen Ernst Kossek
9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Break
9:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Workshop Sessions
11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Break
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Closing Plenary by Dr. Ellen Ernst Kossek & Dr. Barbara Roberts

Conference Photo











Keynote Address: Dr. Ellen Ernst Kossek

"Creating a Culture of Work Life Flexibility: What Leaders and Employees Should Know" 

PDF of Presentation

Dr. Ellen Ernst Kossek.pngDr. Ellen Ernst Kossek is the Basil S. Turner Professor at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management and Research Director of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence. She is a 2016-2017 Academic Leadership Program Fellow in the Big Ten Academic Alliance. She holds degrees from Yale University (Ph.D, organizational behavior); the University of Michigan (MBA, human resources); and Mount Holyoke College (honors in psychology). Her research has won awards including the 2015 Rosabeth Moss Kanter award for research excellence, the Families and Work Institutes’ Work-Life Legacy award for helping to build or advance the work-life movement and the Academy of Management’s Gender and Diversity Division’s Sage Scholarly achievement award for advancing understanding of gender and diversity in organizations. She was the first elected president of the Work-Family Researchers Network, a founding member of the Work Family Health Network and elected a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She has also held a position as a University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Forbes and other media outlets.

Workshop Sessions


A. "Managing Work Life Boundaries in the Digital Age: Improving Well-being On and Off the Job"

PDF of Presentation (Part I)Ellen Workshop Photo

PDF of Presentation (Part II)

As many professionals have already discovered for themselves, it’s a myth that it is always easy for busy, working individuals to achieve perfect balance between their work and personal lives. Participants will take a short workshop assessment designed to identify their own preferences for managing the work-life boundary and will use the results of this assessment in a workshop format to develop strategies for effective boundary management. 

Workshop Objectives:

  • Identify three factors that affect the boundaries between work and personal life
  • Understand the pros and cons of your boundary management style and others styles
  • Learn about boundary management techniques and how to begin to take steps to address work/life challenges

Presenter: Dr. Ellen Ernst Kossek


B. "Strategies for Implementing Flexible Work Schedules; Everyone Wins!"Implementing Flexibility Workshop

Toolkit for Flexible Work Arrangements at MSU (PDF)

Juggling responsibilities at home and work can be stressful. During these challenging times, employees can feel supported if there is a business strategy to implement flexible work arrangements. In this interactive session you will learn about tips and issues related to workplace flexibility as a win/win for the unit and the employees. When used appropriately, flexible work arrangements can increase productivity, improve morale, decrease absenteeism and improve quality of work. 

Workshop Objectives:

  • Review MSU flexible scheduling procedures
  • Discuss successes and challenges learned from MSU departments that have implemented flexible work arrangements
  • Review tools for supervisors and employees to use to work together in arranging flex

Presenter: Lori Strom, MSU WorkLife Office

Panelists: Holly Rosen, MSU Safe Place; Alyssa M. Baumann, MSU Safe Place; Lynnette Forman, MSU Department of Police and Public Safety; Amy Holda, MSU Employee Relations


C. "Gaining Control in Order to Grow: Opportunities through Performance Excellence"

PDF of PresentationGaining Control in Order to Grow Workshop

Gaining Control in Order to Grow Handout (Word doc)

This session will draw upon the keynote address by exploring how flexibility fits into your high performance goals and conversations.  Discussions regarding principles of performance management and a high performance work culture will illustrate how this process can be as empowering as it is instructive. Develop opportunities for growth through the performance management process and other avenues. 

Workshop Objectives:

  • Learn to utilize the performance management process to support high performance
  • Maximize the review process and other conversations to understand workload expectations and share new ideas
  • Develop strategies that support both your work style and the needs of the workplace

Presenters: Dr. Barbara Roberts, MSU WorkLife Office; Jennie Yelvington, MSU Human Resources; Melanie Trowbridge, MSU Academic Human Resources


What conference participants said...

"Great ideas for both flex schedules and my personal work/life balance."

"Having info that MSU is behind flexible schedule initiatives gives me the confidence to talk to my boss about a flexible schedule that will work for my team and for me."

"Thanks for providing this valuable resource!"