Building a Culture of Work/Life Balance

With more and more to do and technology allowing us to work from various places (nearly anywhere), work has become a constant presence for many.  This pressure added to the stresses and busyness of everyday life, while attempting to get everything we need to get done in a day can quickly become overwhelming and seemingly impossible.

The HR team at George Mason University is implementing a wide range of programming and resources to help employees navigate the ins and outs of life and work while focusing on their well being.   They have designed the programs and events around Gallup’s five essential elements of well being:  Career well being (liking what you do); social well being (having strong relationships); financial well being (managing your economic life); physical well being (good health ad energy); and community well being (engagement with where you work and live).

Every Wednesday, the campuses hosts a 30-minute lunchtime group walk with a designated “walk leader”.  Anyone wanting to lead the walk may sign up online and walkers meet at a designated start spot.  The leader may take the group anywhere on campus.  What do you think; would CFAES employees be up for a walking group once a week?

If outdoor exercise isn’t for you, at Mason they mapped out one-mile “trails” within campus buildings.  Would this appeal to CFAES employees?

They also created employee resource groups – working mothers, working fathers, a needlework group (they do charitable projects outside the university and make baby hats in school colors which are given to new parents at the university), a vegan society, a group for administrative professionals, an adult caregivers group, and more. What do you think; why types of resource groups would be beneficial to CFAES employees?

They provide vendor information via a database on in-home caregiver for childcare, eldercare, pet care, and home care.  The Employee Assistance Program, EAP, provides services and resources for child and elder care, as well as, referrals.  To schedule a meeting with EAP call 800-678-6265 or email, or visit the website

The HR team has partnered with financial service providers and other experts to bring seminars and resources to campus and online with the goal of providing opportunities for faculty and staff to increase financial knowledge.  The Employee Assistance Program, EAP, provides services financial counseling and an employee emergency fund for short-term financial crises.  To schedule a meeting with EAP call 800-678-6265 or email, or visit the website

The difference between perks and culture is that perks are a material investment to achieve short term happiness, whereas culture is an emotional investment.

If our HR team wants to work to change the culture we should:

  • Engage senior leadership, faculty and staff in the effort
  • Listen, listen, listen
  • Collaborate when and wherever possible
  • Keep track of results and share the data with leadership on at least an annual basis
  • Be flexible and patient

Getting started is the most difficult step, so to get the ball rolling we could:

  • Reach out to university partners
  • Reach out to community partners
  • Survey the faculty and staff to find out what they need
  • Create a working group to look at options
  • Have a conversation with senior leadership
  • Brainstorm low-cost/no-cost well being options that are easy to implement (like a walking group)

Let’s show we care about our employees overall well being!

The Higher Education Workplace, “Building an Organizational Culture of Work/Life Balance and Well being”,  Spring 2017

Being kind and showing gratitude

I came across an HR article simply titled “Kindness” which made me reflect on how we treat each other in the workplace. I know for myself there have been times when I have forgotten to show someone that I was grateful. Usually, it just seems easier to focus on what someone does wrong or to blame others when things don’t go right. Why is it so hard to tell someone “thank you” or to tell them they did a great job. Why do we tend to focus on the negative?

 Finding ways at work to help others is one of the simplest things we can do to create an environment of kindness. In the article, it mentioned how one of the kindest things we can do is to lift others up around us. Asking someone their thoughts or input or sharing the recognition you receive with a colleague who helped make it happen, are all ways you can show others how much you value their leadership.

When we remember that our co-workers are all doing the best they can, it’s easy to appreciate our colleagues for their efforts and be supportive of those who might be struggling. It makes for a nicer work environment (think perk) and an even nicer life (think culture).

Being kind to people means more than caring about their concerns or appreciating their contribution.  It means truly recognizing the humanity of a colleague without thinking about how what you do may benefit you.


Written by India Fuller




Nation Origin Discrimination – Myth or Fact

Conducting investigations when allegations are made of a hostile work environment due to one’s nationality insulate the company from liability – Myth

It is illegal to discriminate against someone who is perceived to be from a certain country, regardless of whether he or she is actually from there. – Fact

HR Magazine “7 Myths About National Origin Discrimination” Allen Smith, J.D., March 2017