Office space use guidance

August 19, 2020
Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research |

Dear DLC heads who have been participating in the research ramp-up process,

Following the recently released Thunder Committee guidance on office use, we are writing to provide additional guidance on this topic. The Thunder Committee’s work was focused on units on campus that were not already participating in the Lightning Committee’s research ramp-up process. However, it is likely that faculty members and others in your units will be wondering how this new guidance affects their ability to access their office space.

It is important to note that MIT is maintaining the overall policy that ‘every MIT staff member who can work successfully from home will need to continue doing so.’ However, we also recognize that some members of our community need office access to be successful, and the reasons for this may differ across DLCs and by individual circumstances. DLC heads should clearly communicate to their DLC members the factors they will consider and the process they will be using to allow office access. Some factors that DLC heads should consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Need to access items or facilities that can only be used at the office (a large collection of books, secure data/computing, other equipment or resources). Note that, where possible, individuals should be encouraged to use the Covid Access one-time access process to retrieve items that can be taken home.
  • Needs associated with factors that make remote work difficult, such as caregiving responsibilities, inadequate internet access, etc.
  • Needs for those teaching in person to come to campus.

For DLCs that have already granted access to their PIs via the Lightning Committee guidelines, PIs should assign themselves or others in their group hours in the Exercise B Spreadsheet to access office space, provided they have a justifiable reason for doing so. This justification should be included as part of the Exercise B Checklist narrative section and will need to be approved by the DLC head. Hours assigned for office use will count against the PI’s allocation of weekly total hours, and these hours must be counted in the weekly summary of hours that each PI submits to their DLC Monitoring and Compliance Committee (DMC).

The 125 sf/person and 6-foot separation rules apply to office use. In shared offices, masks or face coverings are required. Face covering are recommended but not mandated in private offices when the door is closed.

Please share this guidance with your DLC. Questions related to office use guidance can be directed to

Maria T. Zuber
Vice President for Research

Tyler E. Jacks
Chair of the Lightning Committee