Task force for remote and flexible work update: The home stretch

If you have been monitoring our updates, you already know that the task force has been busy examining options for staff policies addressing remote work and flexible work arrangements. The task force is currently putting its recommendations in writing and finalizing some related draft documents. At present, the task force remains on track to complete its work in the first week of October.

From the perspective of the task force members, this has been a really interesting journey, but not necessarily an easy one. We are trying to think about a post-crisis landscape, while we still navigate through the existing pandemic. We also recognize that Drake is a complex organization and options that may work beautifully in one unit may not be feasible in another. We do not want to make recommendations that are so broad that they are useless, yet they cannot be so specific that they lack the flexibility to be applicable across the institution.

The task force has come to appreciate that Drake made some adjustments—and possibly even some compromises—during the darkest days of the pandemic because we had to. In examining practices for long-term adoption, we must apply a different lens. For purposes of the task force’s work, we have focused on sustainable change and modernization of how the institution can manage and engage staff.

Nevertheless, the task force is optimistic about what lies ahead. “From the survey results to industry articles, it is clear that employees desire increased flexibility and autonomy in determining how they accomplish the tasks of their role. While this requires a needed shift to assessing performance based on productivity versus presence, I believe we can collectively excel,” observes task force member Andy Verlengia, director of Alumni Relations.

In the end, we hope our hard work and recommendations will help the institution take an important and lasting step forward. We would like to think that this is an example of positive change and meaningful collaboration stemming from a most challenging time—a silver lining for both the institution and its staff.

— Maureen De Armond, Human Resources