Why Job Flexibility at MIT?

Why Job Flexibility at MIT?

The MIT 2012 Quality of Life survey identified a positive correlation between access to flexible work arrangements and employee engagement and well-being at MIT. It also revealed that access to flexibility varies significantly depending on the employee's role and department. Based on this data, the Council on Family and Work recommended that MIT promote more equitable access to flexibility for employees across the Institute.

More recently, the MIT 2016 Quality of Life (QoL) survey added a number of new questions to assess the use of formal and informal flexible work arrangements for employees across the Institute, and found that: 

  • 22% regularly work an alternative schedule at least one day per week.
  • 50% vary work hours occasionally.
  • 32% work off-site at times (either on an occasional or regular basis).
  • 4% have a compressed work schedule year round.
  • 5% work a compressed workweek during summer months.
  • Overall, 60% of all MIT employees incorporate some type of occasional or formal flexibility into their work schedules.

Benefits to the MIT Community

Flexible work agreements have the potential to improve workplace culture and address business needs in several key areas:

Recruitment and retention

Research indicates that approximately one-third of U.S. workers consider work-life balance and access to flexibility to be a key factor (PDF) in considering a job opportunity. A significant number across age ranges say that they would be willing to forgo or delay promotions (PDF) to have this benefit.

Engagement and productivity

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) telework experts say that, on average, telecommuters are 15 to 20 % more productive than their office-based counterparts. A 2013 report (PDF) from the Boston College Center for Work and Family indicates that flexibility increases engagement, with the most engaged employees working remotely one day per week.

Cost reduction

In 2009, an Institute-wide task force (PDF) labeled the reduction of office space demand and the promotion of location-independent work culture at MIT as critically important, with an estimated cost savings of $4.4 million. Likewise, the Provost, Chancellor, and EVPT endorsed location-independent work as a means of "promoting and investing for the future" of MIT.

Environmental sustainability

Newly planned construction projects in and around MIT—including four commercial buildings and two residential complexes—will increase traffic and commuting headaches in and around campus into the next decade. Telecommuting and other flexible work arrangements can help relieve some of this congestion while also decreasing both MIT's carbon footprint and the frustration level of employees.

See surveys, reports, and other information about job flexibility.

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