The words to the classic hit, Â“Summertime,Â” would lead one to believe we live in a carefree world from late June through early September. But the fact is that this is the construction season, which means a hectic time for civil engineers. Grueling change orders, hot jobsite visits, and demanding calls from confused contractors are loaded onto the typical project design and management responsibilities that fill your days.
Of course, since the Â“fish are jumping,Â” we also want to squeeze in time for some well deserved R&R with family and friends - making our time at the office all the more intense, as there is always a ball game or a barbeque to attend once our work is through.
Some people always feel pressure to log more hours at the office or in the backyard with the kids, regardless of the season. Thankfully, some firms assist employees with their work-life balance goals.
For example, F.M. Â“ChunkyÂ” Latham III, P.E., president of McCrone, Inc./Design Teams, Inc., an engineering, surveying, and planning firm with offices in the Mid-Atlantic, described his company's Â“balanced circlesÂ” philosophy with the attendees at the Best Firm To Work For Summit in San Francisco last September. One of the firm's three guiding concepts, balanced circles is the understanding that Â“each of us has three circles in our lives: family, personal, and business. On our best days, we spend time in each circle to achieve a qualitative balance.Â” I remember Latham commenting that this precept not only helps existing staff, but is also an effective recruiting tool. He said that when the firm attends college recruiting events, they hang a sign showing their balanced circles concept, and they always have a line of interested young engineers waiting to speak with them! Georgeann Brannon, human resources manager for Hall & Foreman, Inc. (HFI), a multi-disciplined firm headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with approximately 180 employees, described at the Summit how HFI offers staff an innovative schedule that allows 13 days off per year in addition to the paid holidays, and vacation, personal, and sick days that employees receive annually. She explained that there are four different work cycles so that only 1/4 of the staff is off on any Friday.
These are just a few of the great tactics attendees shared at the Best Firm To Work For Summit last year about promoting work-life balance, one of many topics that were covered.
This year's event, a one-and-a-half-day program, will include presentations by firm leaders and industry experts, as well as panel discussions. In addition, the winners of the 2005 Best Civil Engineering Firm To Work For Contest and the Best Structural Engineering Firm To Work For Contest will be announced during a ceremony and dinner banquet. Let your firm's president and human resources mangers know about this worthwhile event taking place in Baltimore during Sept. 15-16, 2005.
Every firm wants to create a great workplace, and this event will provide candid discussion, best practices, lessons learned, networking opportunities, and expert advice on how to achieve this worthwhile goal. Go to www.BestFirmSummit.com or call Kristin Stromberg at 312-628-5870, ext. 231 for more information.
Shanon Fauerbach, P.E.