Sandia LabNews

Family friendly business award

Family friendly business award

After just nine months, life for Wendy Burghaus-Ruiz’s daughter is brimming with firsts.

“We went to White Sands,” says Wendy, a benefits analyst, describing a recent weekend trip with her infant, husband and seven-year-old daughter. “My older daughter got to go sledding on the dunes. My younger daughter had her first experience touching sand, burying her feet in the sand.”

Wendy credits Sandia’s 9-80 work schedule option, under which she works 80 hours in nine days and has off every other Friday, increasing, and enhancing, the time she spends with her family.

Options like the 9-80 schedule helped Sandia earn top-level recognition on April 19 during the Second Annual Family Friendly Business Awards Luncheon, hosted by the nonprofit Family Friendly New Mexico at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The Labs received a Gold Award, the highest honor.

In selecting nominees, Family Friendly New Mexico considers four policy categories: paid leave, health support, work schedules and economic support. Sandia sported family friendly policies in each. Flexible schedules, job sharing, onsite health services, subsidized training, educational assistance and support for nursing mothers were among Sandia’s highlighted amenities.

Such policies are essential to the relationship employees have with Sandia, according to Human Resources Director Rob Nelson.

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“We have a commitment to doing important national security work,” Rob says. “It’s a two-way street. People work hard in committing to the organization, and the organization needs to commit to you as well. We have a strong interest in providing work-life balance.”

Having worked for employers that created little space for a home life, Rob particularly appreciates Sandia’s year-end, weeklong energy-saving shutdown, a benefit rare in industry.

“For me, that week is a very special thing,” says Rob. “Having work just stop at the Labs means that we don’t have competing priorities and can really focus on family.”

For Wendy, not every weekend means road tripping to faraway sand. Her free Fridays often include visits to the bank, shopping or oil changes, in addition to washing mounds of laundry.

“It’s huge,” Wendy says of her Fridays off, “because I get a jump start on all my weekly chores. That way, I have more time on my weekend with my family to do fun things.”

But time away from work gives her other options than spending time with family.

“It’s rejuvenating to have the down time,” Wendy elaborates. “It’s great, because I can go do something for myself without taking time away from my family.”