As of May 7, 2021, the MUNASA Work from Home survey was concluded and at the time of closure, more than half of our membership had taken this opportunity to share their experiences with us. Before discussing the findings in this report, the MUNASA Executive would like to offer our sincere thanks for your participation. As mentioned in prior communications, the results of this survey will be shared with senior administration and the New Model of Work Project Office as we seek to develop a constructive and collaborative relationship around this deeply important topic.
Please note that for the purposes of this report and clarity, all figures used have been adjusted to exclude answers of ‘not applicable’ (such as the questions which are specifically directed at those in supervisor roles) to present a more accurate percentage and have been rounded up to the nearest whole number.
In terms of participation, 47% of responses received came from those in a supervisory role, 75% of all participants work exclusively remotely, and 15% were considered 'Essential workers', with a further 5% working remotely with the expectation to come into the office at least once a week.
While it is true that the pandemic has introduced many new challenges to our lives at home and by extension, had an impact on our ability to work remotely, the results of the survey sheds light on our experiences:
91% of supervisors reported that they are able to do their jobs efficiently, despite the additional challenges, such as those involved with communications. Many have adapted methodologies such as Agile, which have enhanced their team's ability to achieve goals.
72% feel their staff are able to do all their tasks remotely and report that their teams have adapted well to change, with the majority of exceptions related to tasks that require an implicit, on-site presence.
94% of non-supervisor staff report that they are able to work from home efficiently. Benefits cited are broad and varied, from fewer disruptions with a greater ability to focus to a more comfortable work environment with better equipment
Productivity is important, and naturally, a core benefit in the workplace, but what kind of impact is full-time remote work having on our personal lives? On this, participants are more divided.
61% report that they are more productive and 62% feel remote work has had a positive impact on their mental and physical well-being. It is clear that remote work has also had notable impacts on improving accessibility for those with additional health-oriented needs.
However, this is not a universal experience, 35% report that remote work has had an actively negative impact on their wellbeing, the reasons varying from a reduction in social interaction and an increase in difficulty balancing work and home lives.
As much as 94% of participants have reported that they are working at least some additional hours, uncompensated. The reasons vary significantly with some reporting that they feel it is expected of them to be available outside of working hours, while others are faced with an increased workload and putting in extra hours is the only way to keep up.
Meetings are another area for which there is a divide in opinions. 20% feel strongly that meetings are less productive, citing technical difficulty or lack of familiarity with the tools, a disconnect in communication and the detachment of social engagement. Whereas 42% feel that meetings are more productive, have greater attendance, better time keeping and are less likely to get off track.
Across the board however, it is a common concern that meetings are scheduled with less consideration for others time and availability, reporting that meetings are frequently made back to back, due to the perception that they can and should be joined from any location.
Senior administration sent many communications through the course of the last 12 months as the pandemic progressed and it is noteworthy that we all adapted to the needs and demands of our homes and workplace.
When asked, 70% of our participants indicated they were satisfied with the level of communication, taking into consideration the changing requirements of Health Canada and the progression of the pandemic in and around Montreal.
Equally, when asked about their experience with IT support, 79% of participants indicated satisfaction, with many positive and encouraging comments from those who relied on their services.
It is unfortunate though, that when it comes to Central HR, our membership feels keenly, the lack of support, with only 45% indicating they were satisfied.
Further results of the survey indicate that:
More than 70% of participants are working exclusively remotely, 67% indicate they are still relying on personal equipment 12 months after mandatory remote work began.
87% were required to make purchases to enable them to do their jobs, with over 60% spending upwards of $250, without financial support or reimbursement from the university.
Comments reinforce that staff feel unheard and unsupported. Many feel like an effort to engage or survey staff (such as this one) should have come from Human Resources. The implementation of Workday and a lack of support in the transition has a heavy impact in this perception as this caused significant emotional and mental strain for all effected.
Across the responses from our membership, there is a common theme that staff feel they should be heard and involved in the decision making process regarding the future of work at McGill and though there is unlikely to be a solution that caters to all, there is a strong desire for remote work to continue past the pandemic.
68% are in favour of a Hybrid model, with that number rising to 86% if this was the only option. 75% of those in favour would prefer to work a maximum of 1-2 days in the office each week, indicating a strong preference for intentional and purposeful use of in-person presence (such as collaborative work and team building) rather than meeting 'in office' quotas.
The message here is clear. Remote work is important to our members and many are in favour of it continuing to be a part of our daily lives in some capacity, but the impact of the pandemic is likely to last for some time.
Until Montreal is considered a Green zone, 80-90% of participants have indicated that they would not be happy to return to the workplace in a full-time capacity.
90% of respondents indicated they clearly plan to be vaccinated.
75% report that after the pandemic they would be happy to continue remote work and to return to campus only as part of a hybrid remote model. Remote work is considered so important by participants that only 40% indicated that they would not seek alternative employment, should McGill's plans for a Hybrid work model fail to meet expectations.
As the details of the New Model of Work Office’s pilot project are expanded, the MUNASA Executive will continue to engage and seek clarification on what lays ahead.
Should you have any questions or seek to offer suggestions for a future survey, rest assured that you will have the opportunity at an upcoming meeting where we will discuss the results of this poll at length. Details to follow soon.
In closing, we would like to again thank everyone who participated and shared their valuable contributions. We are at our best when we collaborate; after all, we are stronger together!
The MUNASA Executive Download MUNASA Work from Home Survey Results Bulletin