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Custodial services


Redesign Team Sponsor: William R. Dickson, Senior Vice President. The five-member Team, consisting of three union members and two administrative staff assisted by a CSC Index consultant and eight resource staff members, began work on the redesign on October 21, 1994. Redesign was completed and approved by the Steering Committee for Pilot on December 21, 1994.

Major Features and Benefits of the Redesign

Empowered self-directed work teams, reduction in supervision, development of coaches, supplies delivered directly to teams, Team Zones, enhancement of weekend service, expanded areas of work with no new hires, reduction of supervisor staff, improved and consistent quality across campus, and improved quality of work life.


The Pilot Phase began on January 22, 1995, completing an eight-week Pilot phase on March 17, 1995. Report to the Steering Committee on March 21, 1995; approval to move to roll-out phase.

Pilot Teams: Shift, Locations, Team Members and Coaches

The Pilot Phase included two teams of ten custodians each, a supplies person and a coach providing daily direction and supervision. The Evening Team (4pm-midnight) covered Building 9, 13, 17, 31, and 31A. The Night Team (11pm-7am) covered Building E15, E25, E32, E33, and E34. The Pilot Phase was monitored and measured by a Pilot Manager.

Redesign Concepts Tested and Measured in the Pilot

Cross Training: Team members moved from individual job assignments to cross training in all areas of the Pilot zone. Results include an increase in new skills, teamwork, and coverage for absences.

Quality and Customer Satisfaction

An informational letter was hand- delivered to all customers within the Team Zones regarding the Pilot. Customer feedback has been positive. The quality of work improved.

Distribution of Supplies: Supplies delivered on a weekly basis direct to the Team rooms resulting in a reduction in administrative paperwork and a reduction in noncleaning time as supplies are now "on-site."

Supervision: Empowered Teams make decisions regarding division of tasks and work assignments operating as a total unit responsible for all cleaning aspects of the Team zone. Coaches moved from heavy direct supervision to coaching and advising.


Campus Re-zoning includes grouping geographically, buildings into zones, identification of team rooms, total number of custodians necessary for the zone, and shift most appropriate to service the zones. Re-zoning completion target date: July 1, 1995. The first teams will be rolled out beginning July l with completion expected by December 31, 1995.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 1, 1995.

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