32 & You - Belinda Penque & Student Services
“That one day sets my entire family up for a week of success.”
Since the university launched the 32-hour workweek last month, it’s been an interesting adjustment around the campus. A good kind of interesting.
The change has impacted Belinda Penque, an employee in the Student Success Center, in a number of ways. Belinda, who has only been with D’Youville for a few months, cited the new benefit programas one of the reasons she was attracted to the position.
“I loved the campus, and the people I interviewed with were inspiring. They all seemed like they actually wanted to be there!” she says with a laugh. She had mostly made her mind up, but when it came down to a choice between D’Youville and another job offer, she came to D’Youville.
When asked how the 32-hour workweek impacts her family? Belinda indicated her husband, who typically works nights, actually gets to get a full eight hours of rest on a weekday for starters.
“That one day sets my entire family up for a week of success.” She says. As a mom of three, whose partner works non-traditional hours, scheduling has always been a part of her family life. That is still true, but now her days off are actually off.
“You know how it is, with kids. You take your PTO when they have breaks, and your ‘days off’ aren’t used for vacation.” But now, on Mondays, she’s able to run errands, go to the doctors, and get the laundry done – before the kids are even home.
“It’s not all about chores though. I’m more able to be present with them when I’m there” explains Belinda. “Instead of having half of my mind on dinner or a hundred other things, I’m able to just stop and help them with their homework. I’m able to do one thing at a time.”
How has this manifested at the office? We’ve all experienced the relaxation of a three-day weekend, but coming back to the mountain of work waiting after a day off can be daunting. Is the 32-hour workweek working? Or is it just forty hours packed into four days of work?
“I’ve worked in offices that offer a 40/4 split, and while it’s great to get a day off, it can be brutal.” Says Belinda. “That is not what’s happening here.” As one of the most consistently busy student services offices on campus, the potential problems in shifting schedules was top of mind for the entire staff.
According to Belinda, while the transition did take a lot of collaboration, since it’s happened, she’s seen nothing but an increase in productivity and personal responsibility in the office.
“Everyone here wants this to work, so we all put in the effort to make sure it does.” She says while Mondays and Fridays off are at a premium, her office has kept the flow of work fairly distributed, and everyone is getting the time they need to focus .
So what is the trick to making this work?
“Communication is key.” Belinda says, and this goes beyond communicating with her colleagues. The communication has to travel to the students.
“When they come in here looking for answers, we don’t just tell them that someone will get back to them with answers. We tell them who, and when. Then we follow up.” Being a first-generation graduate in her family, Belinda knows how important that conversation is, and what she represents to these kids and our campus community.
And now, when she’s away from her students and her office life, she gets to choose between a day to catch up – or a day to take a break.
For more information on the 32 hour work week at D’Youville College, please visit us at www.dyc.edu
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