Work Succeeding update and survey findings

May 17, 2021

Work Succeeding update:

  • Survey results and community input
  • Toolkits and guidance in development
  • Start conversations now
     

Dear colleagues,

We write to update you on the Work Succeeding initiative. Emerging from ideas gathered by Task Force 2021, this initiative is quickly developing and refining guidance, tools, and policies to support potential new ways of working at the Institute.  

Some members of our community have been working on campus throughout the pandemic. Others may return to on-site work during the summer. And this fall, many more employees will return to campus, either full time or on a hybrid/remote schedule. At an institution as large and complex as MIT, there can be no "one-size-fits-all" solution or recommendation.

With this in mind, work decisions will be made at the department or unit level in consultation with supervisors and based on job requirements, team needs, safety considerations – and how a role can best serve to advance the Institute’s mission. Work arrangements will be evaluated and iterated over time as we learn and experiment together.

Listening to your thoughts and feedback

We are grateful for the incredible response we received to the Work Succeeding survey that was emailed to administrative and support staff on April 26 (with a 78% response rate, the survey set an Institute record!). The information we collected from this survey – including over 9,000 responses to open-ended questions – will help to shape the guidance and policies currently in development to promote flexible approaches to work. Survey results, available on the Institutional Research website, are being analyzed in tandem with insights received through interviews with individuals in a wide range of roles at MIT; personal accounts of remote work successes and challenges; and existing Institute data. Faculty, instructional staff, and research staff will be invited to submit their perspectives in a separate survey soon. (Note that work arrangements for union staff are established through existing bargaining agreements or obligations. For this reason, most organized staff are not being surveyed in this way.)

We had planned to hold a set of focus groups to gather additional feedback from staff members, but based upon the strong survey response, we are instead moving directly to the creation of guidance and tools. We will continue to consider holding focus groups to assess how the guidelines are working through the year.

Guidance to be released this summer

In mid- to late June, we plan to share new and revised Institute policies to support reimagined ways of working at MIT. We will provide a toolkit with resources for navigating flexible work decisions, including:

  • Activities and exercises to assist with team and department planning;
  • Guidance to support equity and inclusion in work decisions;
  • Frameworks for communication and collaboration;
  • Tips for team management, productivity, and problem-solving;
  • Recommendations on technology and equipment; and
  • Resources to support health and well-being.
     

We will continue to refine the toolkit as we receive community feedback based on practical applications of the guidance.

Steps to take now

We strongly encourage teams to engage in discussions now on what work models in their areas may look like this fall, and to start to share ideas regarding preferences for on-site and remote work, taking into consideration work area needs. As you undertake those discussions, you may consider exploring the following questions:

  • How can hybrid work styles support the goals of our team, our area, and the Institute?
  • In what ways has remote work been effective or better for our team?
  • What has been more difficult or complicated about remote work?
     

We look forward to sharing guidance and tools with you soon. Until then, if you have any questions, see our FAQs or email worksucceeding@mit.edu

Sincerely,

Ramona Allen, Vice President for Human Resources
Joe Higgins, Vice President for Campus Services and Stewardship
Krystyn J. Van Vliet, Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Research

Work Succeeding Steering Committee Co-Chairs