ARCHIVED  January 1, 1997

Hewlett-Packard provides case study in flex work time

With today’s pressures of both husband and wife venturing out into the work force, companies are beginning to put more of an emphasis on work-life balance.

One local company that has implemented compatible work schedules for men and women is Hewlett-Packard Co., offering a case study of how a company can work with its employees.

“Flexibility in our work schedules is very important to Hewlett-Packard because it helps our employees better balance their professional life with their personal life, which makes them more focused on their job,´ said MaryLou Simmermacher, corporate press-relations representative for Hewlett-Packard.

Hewlett-Packard encourages flexible work options, including job sharing, maternity medical leave, compressed work weeks, personal leave, paid time off, part-time work with prorated benefits and, depending on the department, telecommuting.

“These various options work well, especially for employees who may have a critically ill child or other family member,” Simmermacher said.

Expectant mothers can take advantage of the company’s six-week medical maternity leave, personal leave up to one year unpaid with medical benefits and job guarantee, or paid time off, depending on how long they need, she said.

Marge Norskog, a 14-year employee of Hewlett-Packard, said she used the medical maternity leave option for six weeks and then decided to take unpaid personal leave for three months to care for her newborn.

“It worked out really well for me because I was able to get organized and find a good child-care provider during my time away from work,” Norskog said.

Since the birth of her daughter 10 years ago, Norskog is still taking advantage of Hewlett-Packard’s flexible work policies by working a 30-hour work week instead of 40 hours.

“When my daughter started third grade in 1994, I needed a more flexible schedule because I had to take her around to different activities,” Norskog said.

Like many other employees, Norskog is taking advantage of part-time work that allows her to spend more time with her family.

Additional programs such as alternative work schedules allow employees and managers to work longer than eight hours with shorter than a five-day work week. And a variable work schedule that allows employees to negotiate a 40-hour work week.

The goal is to achieve company success and create opportunities for balancing work with other life activities, said Will Arduino, public-relations director for the Fort Collins Hewlett-Packard site. These policies help the company recruit and retain quality employees, because they want to work for a company that offers great benefits, he said.

Employees can also enjoy paid time off 15 days out of every year for the first year of their employment, and after five years of service, employees receive 20 days of paid time off.

“However, it is up to the employee how they manage their time off for whatever they are expecting in their life,” Arduino said.

Adoption assistance is also a progressive policy implemented by Hewlett-Packard that provides $2,500 for an employee to adopt a child.

“We implemented this because when someone adopts a child, they have a lot of costs, so we try to give them extra assistance,” Simmermacher said. “We have had a lot of success with this program. Several people in our company have taken advantage of the assistance.”

Hewlett-Packard also sponsors employee network groups where parents can get together during off hours to discuss issues facing working parents.

In addition to employee networks, Hewlett Packard offers women’s groups and speaker’s bureaus in an effort to help employees have a successful work life and personal life.

“Hewlett-Packard’s policies have reduced my stress level because I can’t be everywhere all the time,” Norskog said. “Because I value my career as well as my family, I wouldn’t work at a place that doesn’t provide these different work options.”

With today’s pressures of both husband and wife venturing out into the work force, companies are beginning to put more of an emphasis on work-life balance.

One local company that has implemented compatible work schedules for men and women is Hewlett-Packard Co., offering a case study of how a company can work with its employees.

“Flexibility in our work schedules is very important to Hewlett-Packard because it helps our employees better balance their professional life with their personal life, which makes them more focused on their job,´ said MaryLou Simmermacher, corporate press-relations representative for Hewlett-Packard.

Hewlett-Packard encourages flexible work options, including job sharing,…

Related Content