University implements summer flex schedule, giving many staff Friday afternoons off

Summertime gets a little sweeter for Vanderbilt University staff on June 9, when the university’s new summer schedule goes into effect. Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos announced the plan for staff today in a message to the community thanking the staff for their unflagging support of Vanderbilt.

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (Vanderbilt University)

“Vanderbilt’s success always has depended on people like you, who bring to Vanderbilt your talents, energy, ideas and dedication every day, notwithstanding the relentless cadence of the academic year,” he said. “When our pace allows some breathing room, such as during the summer for some of our areas, I want to give staff the time to recharge their batteries.”

Under the new plan, units with non-essential staff operations will aim to close at noon on Fridays for 10 weeks during the summer. Managers and eligible staff should work together to implement alternate work schedules during the week that allow their units to close or operate with skeleton staffing on Friday afternoons. Of course, summer is a particularly busy time for a number of units on campus, and some will need to operate at full strength.

The plan does not provide additional paid time off, yet offers increased flexibility for staff with the possibility of alternative summer schedules. While some areas of the university have had summertime flex arrangements in place for years, this new arrangement solidifies the Friday-afternoon option for the many units where the option makes sense.

“We are constantly seeking new ways to recognize the hard work of our incredible faculty and staff and enhance Vanderbilt’s unique culture,” said Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration. “Flexible scheduling approaches are in place at many workplaces in the country, and the Friday-afternoon option adds to Vanderbilt’s suite of highly competitive benefits that allow us to recruit and retain the very best staff from across the region and from across the nation.”

The summer schedule begins June 9 and runs through Aug. 11. The university will return to regular working hours the week of Aug. 14.

“Managers should work with their teams to make operating decisions that work best for their business and academic needs while providing flex schedules where possible for staff to enjoy new opportunities for work-life balance,” Kopstain said, adding that the shortened Friday schedule could also ease commute times for staff.