FAMOS für Familie 2017

People look at the camera Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter

Seven RWTH managers honored for their family-friendly management.


RWTH Aachen, a certified family-friendly university, is very concerned about improving work-life balance for their members, whether they are staff or students with families. An important part of this is the realization of family-friendly management. Over the past months, all RWTH Aachen employees had the opportunity to nominate their mangers for the tenth call of the award “FAMOS für Familie.” The award honors individuals who have made particular efforts in family-friendly management, sustainable leadership, healthy work-life balance, and creativity in the workplace. The jury is composed of representatives from the Rectorate, Equal Opportunities Office, the Integration Team – Human Resources, Gender and Diversity Management, IGaD, and the staff councils.

This year, Professor Janina Fels from the Medical Acoustics Research Area, Professor Rainer Telle from the Chair of Ceramics and Refractory Materials, Professor Dirk Uwe Sauer from the Chair of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage Systems, Professor Antonello Monti from the Chair of Automation of Complex Power Systems, Professor Joost-Pieter Katoen from the Chair for Computer Science 2 were honored as well as Dr. Marcus Gerards and Sebastian Knoth from the “Media for Teaching” service point.

“I am very happy to see that we have a whole range of prize winners this year,” Deputy Chancellor Thomas Trännapp said at the award ceremony. “Being the father of three children, I am well aware of the situation of having to balance work and family life.” Besides a certificate and a glass cube, the honorees also received a check for 500 euros, which is to be used for a team activity.

Award Recipients

Professor Janina Fels takes an active interest in her staff’s life situations and their families. Particularly remarkable is the generous flexibility she offers with regard to parents’ working hours. She is always open to working out suitable part-time models and makes it possible for her coworkers to work from home in times of need, such as when children get sick or child-care facilities are closed. Janina Fels keeps a box with toys in her office, which are always available to entertain visiting children.

Professor Rainer Telles' supportive attitude towards work-life balance is exceptional. This is obvious from his flexibility and trust when it comes to accomodating his coworkers. Professor Telle is interested in his team members' life situations, always ready to help should a family emergency arise, and supports work from home. He offers special support to female staff at the institute and encourages them to participate in continuing education classes at RWTH. The children of his team members are always welcome and considered an integral part of every office celebration.

With his dedication to equal opportunities and the compatibility of family and career Professor Dirk Uwe Sauer has achieved female representation of 25 percent among his scientific staff and 50 percent among management. He introduced the dual leadership concept to the department administration. This makes it possible to cushion hiatus periods and make the return to work easier, including a potential reduction to working time. This allowed parents with reduced working hours to directly start working again in management positions. Professor Sauer is very interested in his team's personal life and work on suitable professional framework conditions in personal conversations with them.

Professor Antonello Monti makes it possible for his staff to combine family and work in a variety of ways: "Many of our colleagues with children have expressed the need to adapt regular working hours in order to fulfill family responsibilities. This was always greeted and granted with understanding and allowed us to balance work and family more easily." Last minute home office requests due to family were also possible. "Professor Monti is a manager, who focuses just as much on the professional and personal development of his team as the success of projects and scientific work." This has also allowed employees to join projects without working full time.

Professor Joost-Pieter Katoen always takes time for family matters. When needed he has helped foreign team members with communicating with government offices. He gives consideration to staff members with families; in fact, women who were nursing were still able to participate in seminars and conferences. According to Professor Katoen, a crucial component of the success of his institute is the composition of the working group. He motivates them by recognizing successes, promoting team building measures, and shows interest in the personal concerns of his team.

Dr. Marcus Gerards and Sebastian Knoth work from a belief in their staff with family responsibilities. In unsual heavy workload situations, such as business trips, they create compensated periods. A reduction to working hours does not influence the responsibilities given to staff members or their participation in further education opportunities. When children are ill, working hours are flexible and appointments are rearranged or taken over by Marcus Gerars or Sebastian Knoth themselves.

Source: Press and Public Relations