Research & Resources

Our curated collection of MIT resources, technology options, research reports, and other information will help you learn more about job flexibility and assess whether a flexible arrangement could work for you as an MIT employee or manager/supervisor.

MIT Resources

Find MIT resources for employees and managers/supervisors supporting flexible work arrangements.

Learning bundles

MIT offers a wide range of learning opportunities to support the development of every employee.

The MIT Learning Center offers online and in-person training opportunities, including three learning bundles on job flexibility, that contain a collection of curated online learning resources.

  • The Business Case for Job Flexibility - This learning bundle will enhance your understanding of the nature of flexible work arrangements, how job flexibility can be used as a business tool, and some common benefits and challenges.
  • Flexible Work Agreements - This learning bundle will help you better understand, assess, and implement flexible work arrangements, covering what to include in a flex proposal, a process for employee and supervisor discussions, and guidance to supervisors on how to assess and respond to a proposal. 
  • Team Practices to Support Flex Work - This learning bundle will help employees, managers, and teams improve team practices around collaboration, communication, and accountability.

Other campus resources

  • If you have questions about the impact of flexible work arrangements on employee benefits eligibility, see Benefits Eligibility or contact the Benefits Office on campus or at Lincoln Laboratory.
  • The Disability Services and Medical Leaves Office manages and coordinates reasonable work accommodations for MIT employees with disabilities.
  • Your Human Resources Officer can advise you in developing a flexible work arrangement proposal, and also can advise managers/supervisors who are evaluating a flexible work arrangement proposal or overseeing such an arrangement.
  • MyLife Services is a free, confidential MIT benefit that can make life a little easier for you and your family. One call puts you in touch with a network of experts who can provide counseling, work-life consultations, and referrals. 
  • See Career Development services, including workshops, individual counseling, career coaching, and networking are available to employees at MIT.
  • The MIT Working Group on Support Staff Issues works toward solutions for issues that concern MIT support staff. It is open to all employees on campus and at Lincoln Laboratory, with manager/supervisor approval. 

Technology Resources

Advancements in hardware, software, and other technologies continue to enhance productivity for telecommuters and other employees with flexible work arrangements. Below are just some of the resources available.

Smartphones

Smartphones have become ubiquitous in flexible work arrangements. MIT’s Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) Department currently supports four mobile devices: Android, Apple iOS, and Windows 10. Learn more about mobile device support at MIT.

Software
Connectivity

The Cisco Systems VPN Client is an application that helps employees connect securely to a virtual private network at MIT.

Password Management

LastPass is a password management system that helps employees remember all of their passwords. The system also removes the insecurity of using the same passwords for multiple sites or sharing passwords with others. 

Voice

Sylantro is a VOIP application that allows you to forward your desk phone to your mobile number. 

Document Management and Collaboration
Microsoft Office 365

The industry standard for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and more, this application also includes Microsoft Outlook for email and shared calendars. Now available in a mobile version.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a hosting service offering cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. MIT IS&T also offers Dropbox Paper, a collaborative word-processing application. 

Google Drive

A file storage and synchronization service by Google, it works with a suite of productivity tools, including Google Docs (word processor), Google Sheets (spreadsheets), and Google Slides (presentation program). Learn more.

Quip

This collaborative productivity software suite is designed for mobile and the Web. 

Wikis

A wiki is a website that allows collaborative modification of its content and structure.

Video conferencing

Also known as "visual collaboration," video conferencing is a type of groupware that allows people at two or more locations to communicate via video and/or audio technologies. There are several video conferencing products and applications on the market, including:

  • Skype for Business
  • Jabber
  • Google Hangouts
  • FaceTime
  • WebEx
IM/chat

This type of online chat features real-time transmission. Several products and applications are available, including Jabber, Yammer, Slack and others. Learn more about the different instant-messaging options supported at MIT.

Code management

GitHub is a web-based hosting service that allows you to upload and share code.

Task/project management

The web-based management application Trello helps you keep track of projects and collaborate with teams. 

Other Technology Resources

Research

Reports and studies

SHRM Research: Flexible Work Arrangements (2015)
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
An overview of research on job flexibility, including the increase in work flexibility practice, the success and impact of flexibility, and the future of workplace flexibility.

The Future of Flexibility (2014)
Boston College Center for Work & Family
An overview of the business case for flexibility. The focus is on flexibility for non-exempt employees; barriers to successful implementation and strategies for overcoming them; and best practices for sustaining organizational commitment.

National Workplace Flexibility Study (2014)
Boston College Center for Work & Family, Career/Life Alliance, and Life Meets Work
A study that presents an organizational approach to the successful implementation of job flexibility, which includes supporting and training managers and supervisors in how to work with flexible teams. The study describes how this approach was tested and presents the results.

Evolving Talent Strategy to Meet the New Workforce Reality (2013)
PwC (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers), University of Southern California, and London Business School
A joint study on fostering a greater sense of workplace commitment among the increasingly important millennial generation. It calls for a new focus on work-life balance and discusses the potential role that job flexibility might play.

Business Impacts of Flexibility: An Imperative for Expansion (2011)
Corporate Voices for Working Families
A study seeking to understand how companies measure and define the business benefit of flexibility. It clarifies and strengthens the bottom-line case for expanding flexibility as a core business practice.

Fact Sheet: The Business Case for Workplace Flexibility 
A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center
An overview of employers who provide flexibility to their employees with regard to where and how their work gets done. The fact sheet shows that these workplaces can gain a tremendous financial benefit and competitive advantage in today’s economy.

Telework Experts Say Employers Can Manage Sight Unseen (2010)
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
An article that examines some of the misperceptions about telecommuting that have slowed wider adoption. The focus is on how telework benefits employers.

Workplace Flexibility in the 21st Century: Meeting the Needs of the Changing Workforce (2009)
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
A large-scale survey of U.S. employers on workplace flexibility. It documents the prevalence and types of flexible work arrangements (FWAs) that employers offer; employee utilization of FWAs; employers that collect metrics/analytics on FWAs; successful FWAs as well as success factors; the impact of FWAs on both employees and employers; and the challenges associated with FWAs.

Creating a Culture of Flexibility: What It Is, Why It Matters, How to Make It Work (2003)
Boston College Center for Work & Family
An article that provides an overview of the culture of flexibility. The wide range of topics includes business reasons for implementing flexibility, obstacles to successful implementation, what leading companies are doing to sustain a flexible work culture, and how to engage senior leaders to make a positive impact on the culture of flexibility in your own organization.

Does It Matter Where You Work? A Comparison of How Three Work Venues (traditional office, virtual office, and home office) Influence Aspects of Work and Personal/Family Life (2003)
Journal of Vocational Behavior
An IBM study that examines how three different work venues may influence different aspects of job performance. Topics include motivation, retention, career opportunity, and personal/family life, including work-life balance and personal/family success.

Bringing Work Home: Advantages and Challenges of Telecommuting (2002)
Boston College Center for Work & Family
An article providing an overview of telecommuting. Topics include how to evaluate whether it’s right for your organization, the cost-benefit analysis of telecommuting, the impact on professional relationships and career progression for employees, and how to create and implement a telecommuting program.