Community Announcement: New Space Arrangements at IQSS

April 15, 2022
Downward view of CGIS Knafel's spiral staircase

Dear: IQSS Staff and Affiliates
From: Gary King, Faculty Director; Pat McVay, Director of Business Operations; Andrew Juraschek, Associate Director
Subj: New Space Arrangements at IQSS
Date: April 15, 2022

The last two years have brought some of the greatest disruptions to our personal and work lives we’ve ever seen. From the very first days of the pandemic in 2020, when we all brought our work home for what we thought would be a short two week stint, we have all longed for things to “get back to normal,” and now, two years later, that sense of stability continues to elude us. At the same time, we’ve all come to realize that all this disruption has presented an opportunity to craft new and sometimes even better rhythms for our personal and professional lives. And, remarkably, our work and impact have gone on unabated, which is a testament to the resilience of our team. We can’t thank you enough for all each of you has done, despite various challenges at work and at home, to make that possible.

As the spring semester draws to a close, we’d like to share our current plan for space and hybrid work arrangements at IQSS. This plan is based on data from the past two semesters and sets down in paper many of the ideas you’ve all come up with in our conversations about these issues. The goal, as we all know, is to maintain the flexibility that remote work has enabled, provide some level of predictability and personalization for our in-person workspaces, build the strong IQSS community, and fulfill the responsibility we have to steward the valuable real estate Harvard has given us to manage. There’s obviously no correct way to do all this, but we’re going to give this version a try for a while, continue to study and discuss it with you all, and hope to improve it over time. 

The two key goals that govern this plan involve IQSS leading in two areas:

  1. Fostering community among all IQSS faculty, staff, students, and affiliates. (This has always been a core pillar of IQSS’ mission; see King 2013.)
  2. Enabling staff to have unprecedented levels of flexibility in location, in space, and in time as they productively contribute to our mission.

To accomplish these goals, we will be rolling out a series of changes to our work environment:

  1. Flex work arrangements

    1. Managers will continue to work with their direct reports to determine the best arrangements for teams to accomplish their tasks. With the exception of occasional organization-wide meetings, to be announced well in advance, team members may work from anywhere (subject of course to Harvard's employment rules, constrained by tax authorities) that allows them to do so productively.

    Remote capabilities

    1. We will continue to provide equipment to support work arrangements at home or other remote locations as much as possible (via laptops, external monitors, etc.).

    Collaborative calendaring

    1. In order to facilitate collaboration amidst the ongoing flex/remote arrangements mentioned above, we will move to a shared IQSS calendering process using the platform. Details to follow in a later announcement.

    Shared and/or multi-functional space

    1. Those people who come in regularly will keep their current desk assignments and will make arrangements in their offices for others to use space on days when they aren’t in, or when extra desks are needed. This will help us ensure the maximum utility and flexibility for our space (e.g. this would allow staff to spread out for Zoom calls when needed and/or make room for more visitors). 
      1. As demand for space increases, we may need to redefine parameters for keeping personalized space (i.e. we could eventually need to shift to hoteling for people coming in less often to preserve space for those intending to use it most frequently).
    2. Several offices will be permanently converted to hoteling for when people who come in less than once a week have a place to work in if they wish to. As we see how space is used, we will consider creating additional hoteling opportunities or other, more collaborative/flexible space arrangements.
      1. We will provide more information on how to access hoteling space. In the meantime, please contact Pat if you are planning to be on campus and do not currently have a workspace assigned.
      2. Our goal is to make the hoteling space so wonderful that we will all want to work there.
    3. At least one office will be kept available as a small meeting/conference/private room for when people in shared offices need access to that. K313 (the conference room next to Gary’s office) is also available.
    4. A standard conference room—originally designated in room K332 and later moved to K017—is being established in the south building in S314, with a large display, a white board, and an Owl. This will enable attendance by both in-person and remote personnel. 
    5. The main office will be converted to a waiting lounge, with a sofa and coffee table.

We will reach out directly to any staff or faculty members who are directly affected by changes to office assignments. Please keep the suggestions coming, let us know if you have any questions, and thanks for your continuing active partnership in navigating these unprecedented times.

Gary, Pat, and Andrew