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Greenville Business Magazine

Top Workplaces honoree for work/life balance: Anderson University

By Leigh Savage

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

Dolly Parton’s wise words were about prioritizing other aspects of life beyond work, but top leaders know that work-life balance for employees also means a better - and more productive - workplace.

Forbes reports that fostering balance reduces burnout and stress, and that burned out workers cost companies up to $190 billion a year in health care spending.

This year’s top score for supporting work-life balance went to Anderson University, a Christian liberal arts university that participated in Top Workplaces for the first time. With 487 employees, the university earned the top spot with numerous employees commenting on flexible schedules, understanding managers and a focus on efficiency.

Anderson University, which offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, was founded in 1911 and is one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Just as the school seeks to educate the whole person - knowledge, personal health and faith - the university also seeks to help its employees grow in those same areas.

Evans P. Whitaker, president and professor of management, says on the school website that the university is committed to preparing students to be successful in their career of choice, but also in all realms of life: family, community, work and church. Workplace policies and culture ensure employees have the opportunity to succeed in those areas as well.

Anderson’s employees cited the ability to work part time, a flexible schedule and the option to work from home as top reasons they felt the school helped them balance work and life.

“My supervisor is supportive and accommodating,” one employee said, adding that he or she has “never been questioned when I have to take time off or rearrange my schedule.”

According to the surveys, the No. 1 driver of the need for work/life balance is family, and employees at Anderson University said family was kept at the center of workplace decisions.

“Anderson University understands that I have a family and that I need to always keep my priorities in order to balance my work life and my personal life,” said one.

Others said that that leadership “supports family first,” with teams that can fill in gaps for one another as needs arise.

The Covid-19 pandemic created even more of a need for balance, with many people caring for aging or ill parents, dealing with virtual school and tackling other challenges. Employees expressed gratitude for understanding bosses who recognized that flexibility and understanding were needed more than ever in 2020.

One employee summed it up by saying they felt blessed to have a supervisor “who understands all about life.”