Through collaboration with other service units on campus, and connections with the Greater Lansing community (or other applicable communities where you live or work), 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Office
Basically, work life refers to how we combine work and life
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
Resources, services and opportunities are sometimes hard for
individuals to locate and coordinate on such a large 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.
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, and their families.
Resources for family care, career transitions, workplace
wellbeing, relocation, campus/community connection and assisting newcomers.
Information on childcare, eldercare and parenting, ways to find and become
involved with your community, relocation advice, best practices for workplace
wellbeing and information as well as support for career changes are available.
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.
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.
Through collaboration with other service units on campus, and
connections with the Greater Lansing community, the WorkLife Office supports
faculty and staff to find resources easily and efficiently, improving
utilization of resources, and simplifying the path to resources for MSU faculty
Aren’t there already a number of services available across campus to help faculty and staff? How is the WorkLife Office different?
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.
What services can the WorkLife Office provide for me as a faculty/staff member with a family and young children?
The WorkLife Office staff would be happy to consult with you
to share resource and services information that can support you and your
family. These services include Backup Dependent Care (40 hours per MSU family
per year, MSU subsidizes approximately 70% of the cost), the services of to give you
free access to providers that can provide you with care in your home. Services
through Care.com/msu range from childcare, housecleaning, pet-sitting,
eldercare and more. If you are breastfeeding or chestfeeding, we can help you
find private locations on campus. You are also invited to receive family
activity and support information through our calendar, publications and email
How can the WorkLife Office support me as a faculty/staff member with the responsibility for my elderly parent with health problems?
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.
Some MSU policies don’t fit my situation and I don’t know how to talk to my supervisor about it. Can the WorkLife Office help?
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.
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. You can consult Human Resources for clarification regarding the flexible/remote work policy.
There is suddenly more discussion than ever about implementing remote work strategies, as we seek to reduce our in-person contact for a while, yet not fall out of touch or cease operations. The WorkLife Office has a great deal of experience addressing alternative work arrangements, including remote work, flexible scheduling, and multiple means of participating on or off-site. There are many and varied reasons for working remotely, all the time or sometimes – accommodation of disability, childcare or eldercare needs, commuting constraints/savings, work that spans locations and time zones, winter weather … We already do this in many circumstances; we have the knowledge and ability to adapt to evolving needs for flexibility and remote work.
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.
Yes, the WorkLife Office provides opportunities for student employment and for student interns from a variety of fields.
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.