Professional News

UK Working Parents Rise Above Challenges

Danielle Herrig and family.
Danielle Herrig and family.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 29, 2020) — Work-life management is an essential part of an employee’s journey at University of Kentucky. By establishing harmony and routine in and out of the workplace, employees maintain a sense of well-being. 

For working parents, the strive for balance can be a challenging one. UK HR Work-Life understands the importance of supporting working parents, and it all starts with establishing a supportive employee-supervisor relationship.

“We are proud to say we have a lot of very supportive supervisors at UK,” said Azetta Beatty, HR Work-Life manager. “This is a particularly challenging time for working parents, and so many supervisors are stepping up to support their employees by being flexible with schedules, reprioritizing tasks and simply showing kindness.”

“My supervisor has been terrific through the pandemic,” said Danielle Herrig, a postdoctoral researcher with the Department of Biology. “My supervisor has helped me brainstorm tasks I can accomplish on days when our daughter needs a lot of attention compared to days when I am able to focus on work for longer periods of time. She has helped guide me to continue to meet goals that are essential for my long-term career aspirations as well.”

Many working parents at UK were greatly impacted this year, not only by shifting environments, but also by changing schedules. For Colette Tabeau, a flexible schedule has been crucial in allowing her to continue her job while looking after her eight-year-old son.

“My direct supervisor has always supported a healthy work-life balance,” Tabeau said. “However, during the pandemic, she has been very aware of the additional stress involved in my day. The most impactful thing that has occurred is that she trusts me to do my job whenever (and wherever) it works best for my current circumstances. "

Tabeau said that instead of working a standard 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. day, she may take a break in the middle and then work later in the day so she is able to complete her work. This has been an eventful year for Megan Lucy, assistant director of faculty resources for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, who welcomed her first child in March. “I went straight from maternity leave to working from home,” Lucy said. “It was hard to come back having not only just missed 12 weeks of work, but also having missed everything that changed at UK from March through June of 2020.”

Amid the great challenges that she has faced this year, Lucy remains optimistic and feels grateful for the opportunities that are available to working parents in the UK community.

“I am lucky to have so many great resources to learn from at UK,” she said. “HR Work-Life's working parents resources are so valuable. I have felt so supported in my journey to working parenthood at UK.”

For additional support, UK working parents are invited to connect with the Working Parents Network through a private Facebook group, as well as attend the bi-monthly meetings and check-in sessions.

To discover resources and information for working parents at UK, visit the Resources for Parents web page and check out upcoming events on the Work-Life calendar To learn more about flexible work arrangements, visit the Flexible Work page.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.