Northern Illinois University employees will have a five-day work week for the second summer in a row.
Before, Northern Illinois University workers were expected to work 9 and a half hour days Monday through Thursday. Last year -- along with bringing in a new president -- NIU brought back the five-day week and added three different flex-time options from June to August.
Lisa Freeman is the executive vice president and provost at NIU. She says the four-day summer schedule was inconvenient for staff and faculty -- especially for those working in research and applying for funding.
"Our grants people, who had to submit grants on Friday when that was the deadline, they had to work from Starbucks because their building was so uncomfortable since it wasn't air-conditioned," Freeman said.
Freeman says the four-day plan initially saved the university money. However, it turned out to be more cumbersome than helpful after the school put more energy-efficient and cost-effective practices into place.
Freeman isn't sure whether NIU was in the minority with a four-day work week. She said flex time is becoming more common across universities, “just as it’s becoming more common across the private sector.”
Freeman says NIU also is working to give employees -- including professors -- the option to work from home online.
NIU Vice President of Finance Alan Phillips says the only major savings for the previous 4-day week was in building energy costs. Employee pay almost stayed the same.