Frequently Asked Questions

Basically, work life refers to how we combine work and lifestyles to be more compatible and less in competition with each other. There are many understandings of the intersection of work and personal lives. Some scholars refer to “fit,” others to “balance” – which many people feel is impossible to achieve because the term “balance” suggests a 50/50 division, and we all know life and work do not align evenly on the scale at all times. “Balance” is more about fitting work and personal lives together over time, not just at any one time. Some people refer to work life “integration;” others don’t want work to integrate into their personal life. It’s really up to you to define the way you combine productive, meaningful work with a satisfying and fulfilling personal life.

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Resources, services and opportunities are sometimes hard for individuals to locate and coordinate on such a large and varied campus. The WorkLife Office is meant to be a one-stop destination where you can be confident that someone will know where and how to find a resolution to your concern, or provide information or education to help you think about it, and empower you to act for yourself or with the right supports. The WorkLife Office keeps its finger on the pulse of the community to identify emerging needs, shifts in the workforce that require different approaches or services, and to provide recommendations for programs, changes and new initiatives that help faculty and staff make the most of their personal and work lives together.

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The WorkLife Office serves all faculty and staff in the MSU community, including post-docs, academic specialists, librarians, pre-tenure faculty, fixed-term faculty, part-time/temporary and full-time staff, Extension staff and faculty, and administrators.

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Resources for family care, career transitions, workplace policies and benefits, relocation and community connection as well as research in the work life field are provided in partnership with a variety of campus units. Information on childcare, eldercare and parenting, ways to find and become involved with your community, relocation advice and information as well as support for career changes are available.

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The WorkLife Office offers relevant and appropriate information, sound referrals, informed consultation and support to people seeking to navigate more smoothly through their work and personal lives.

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The staff of the WorkLife Office understand that you may bring concerns of a sensitive nature to our attention – regarding your work environment, career transitions or personal life. We understand the importance of confidentiality, and are bound by professional ethics and privacy legislation to protect your privacy and respect confidential information. If it is determined that your concerns would benefit from therapeutic intervention, we will refer you to the appropriate resource. Limitations to confidentiality pertain to instances of Title IX and MSU’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy violations, and apprehensions of danger to oneself or others, all of which may require the mandatory reporting of our staff; you will be advised if the staff member determines this is relevant in your situation.

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The WorkLife Office staff would be happy to consult with you to share resource and services information that can support you and your young family. These services include Backup Dependent Care (20 hours per MSU family per year, MSU subsidizes approximately 70% of the cost), the services of www.care.com/msu to give you free access to providers that can provide you with care in your home. Services through Care.com range from childcare, housecleaning, pet-sitting, eldercare and more. If you are a breastfeeding mother, we can help you find private locations on campus in which to express your breastmilk when you return to work from maternity leave. You are also invited to receive family activity information through our calendar, publications and email Listservs.

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The WorkLife Office staff would be happy to consult with you to share resource and services information that can support you and your elderly parent. You are encouraged to make an appointment to meet with a staff member, share your concerns and learn about community resources for caring for elder loved ones. Whether your elder lives locally or long distance, the consultation will provide you with options to maintain their quality of life and independence as much as possible, while giving you the tools you need to take a break from caregiving and maintain your own positive health outcomes.

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Through collaboration with other service units on campus, and connections with the Greater Lansing community, the WorkLife Office supports faculty and staff to find those resources easily and efficiently, improving utilization of those resources, and simplifying the path to resources for MSU faculty and staff.

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Not everyone has the same needs or work style, and not all jobs have the same kinds of requirements, so flexible work hours can help address those differences that already exist, while enabling people to be happier, healthier and more productive. Some situations are very conducive to flexible scheduling, and some are not. It’s important to look at the nature of the work, the impact on the office productivity and responsiveness along with the needs of the employee, and explore the capacity to reconcile those elements with a less rigid and more flexible schedule. It might be easier than you think! You can contact the WorkLife Office to discuss the options that might be available to and be the best fit for you and your work team.

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The WorkLife Office can assist you in finding the policies and provisions that might help you best and where exceptional circumstances apply, we can help you find a way to discuss this with your union, manager, or supervisor. We can consult with you about how to frame the problem, explore solutions, and decide how to approach it with the right person or departmental support.

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The WorkLife Office partners with the community to create an inclusive, responsive work environment where all faculty and staff are respected and supported toward well-being in work and personal lives. As the one-stop destination for work life issues, the WorkLife Office collaborates with partners across campus to connect faculty and staff with what they need to fit together their busy lives. The initiation of the WorkLife Office reflects MSU’s desire to meet the needs of our faculty and staff with high quality, coordinated and contemporary services. Whether we provide consultation, education, resources, or referrals, the staff of the WorkLife Office will coordinate services to provide compassionate and understanding consultation and support to faculty and staff at MSU to ensure more satisfying and productive careers.

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Yes, the WorkLife Office provides opportunities for student employment and for student interns from a variety of fields.

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Volunteer opportunities are anticipated in helping families relocate to MSU, assisting international hires to integrate smoothly into the Greater Lansing community, hosting special events and providing information through small-scale events. Alumni and retirees are especially encouraged to get in touch to share their experience, expertise and time with the WorkLife Office.

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The Events section of the WorkLife Office homepage features events hosted by the WorkLife Office and other events across campus of interest to balancing work and personal lives.

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No. Faculty and staff should inquire in their departments, through Human Resources or Academic Human Resources, or the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies https://vprgs.msu.edu/find-funding. Students should inquire at the Office of Financial Aid. https://finaid.msu.edu/.

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The Women’s Resource Center had expanded its mission to include people of all gender identities and that expertise will contribute to all our work, informing programs and services to be more responsive to the wide range of needs represented in our diverse community. Work life issues are not just women’s issues, but many work life initiatives have their genesis in women’s participation in the workplace, and that experience will be richly informative in designing and implementing work life programs for MSU faculty and staff.

The Family Resource Center has been at the forefront of developing family-centered resources, programs and services as well as helping to found the national association for work life offices for many years. It’s only natural that the WorkLife Office would include the FRC’s background, expertise and programs going forward.

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