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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to explore and understand employee perceptions of remote work as a potential option for normal operations, based on experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic. Two surveys were administered, before and after developing a telecommuting and remote work guideline for the library.
METHODS: An 8-question, web-based survey was sent to all library faculty and staff in the spring of 2021, asking their opinions about working remotely on an ongoing basis. Questions included multiple choice and free-text responses about how often employees wanted to work remotely; what tasks they believed could be done productively from home; what equipment they needed at home; and what challenges they believed the library faced with employees working remotely. In March 2022, a follow-up survey was sent to assess employees’ experience with telecommuting or remote work since the library’s guidelines were implemented. The second survey included questions about telecommuting schedules, equipment needs, feelings about connectedness with the organization, and overall satisfaction with the hybrid work environment.
RESULTS: In the original survey, 85% of staff and faculty responded. All wanted to continue to work remotely part time after the pandemic. 65% preferred working from home 2-3 days per week. The challenges identified included staffing the building and the demand for in-person services. In the second survey, 86% responded. 58% work from home 2-3 days per week, and 84% were very satisfied with how the library implemented telecommuting schedules. Respondents commented that collaborating and balancing workloads worked better than expected. Communication, IT issues, and having the right tools in each location were among the challenges identified.
CONCLUSION: Responses to the first survey were very consistent overall, indicating broad consensus among faculty and staff about continued remote work. The follow-up survey showed continued satisfaction with the hybrid work environment. Neither staffing the building nor demand for in-person services were identified as challenges by respondents of the second survey. Comments about difficulty working with employees located both on-site and remote increased slightly. Additionally, the majority of respondents, 63%, reported they felt only somewhat connected to co-workers in their units and in the library overall; 37% reported feeling very connected. Time and further adjustments to organizational norms and processes may be needed to fully adjust the library to a hybrid work environment, towards improving the sense of connectedness.
Medical Library Association 2022 - MLA'22
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Bowler-Hill, Sally. "Continuing to Build Consensus Around the Future of Remote Work: One Library’s Study." (2022). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hslic-posters-presentations/86