American University’s hybrid workplace represents a new way of working to advance our mission, serve our students, and support our staff. Many staff members work some days on-campus and some days from a remote location in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia region (DMV). Many others work in-person four or five days a week. AU’s hybrid work environment combines elements of remote work with the benefits of campus presence. Our way of work is part of the university’s commitment to increasing staff satisfaction, retention, and productivity. It is how AU works now and in the future.
In a hybrid work environment, staff and supervisors need to approach the work with intentionality. Intentionally doesn’t just mean setting schedules based on university needs and job functions. It also means developing norms, expectations, and structures around working in a hybrid work environment.
Together, we support our students, our learning and research, AU’s business functions, AU’s service to our community, and each other to make this way of work successful in the long term.
Each full-time and part-time staff member is assigned one of five working modalities based on the position’s job duties, the university’s needs, and the department’s operational requirements.
Physical presence positions require an on-campus presence five days a week.
Hybrid positions work a set number of days each week onsite and remotely the balance of the time.
While it is possible, and sometimes beneficial, to do some aspects of team and community building virtually, some critical aspects of a healthy work community cannot be replicated in a fully remote environment. The university believes it is essential for teams to come together regularly to connect in person, build community, enjoy opportunities for the social and spontaneous aspects of work, strengthen our teams, and collaborate in ways that are not as easy when virtual. This can include “all hands” days to support important university events, such as Preview Days, and days where the team comes together in-person to intentionally conduct planning, develop professionally, welcome new team members and/or deepen relationships with each other, and have fun and support each other. See Community Building Resources.
A position’s eligibility for a hybrid modality is based on the university’s academic, administrative, and operational needs and the duties of the positions. The university’s goal is to use a transparent process and have consistent modalities (where possible) for positions with similar duties. Basing remote work schedules on job functions and operational needs rather than personal preferences reduces the chances that managers will grant access unevenly to positions with similar duties. Factors including staffing levels, space, and peak work periods for the department may enter into the planning, so not all similar positions will have the same schedule – some may have a day of remote eligibility, while others may work remotely for two days or more per week. The university recognizes that it is critical for student-serving offices to maintain a campus presence for our students even when work is hybrid amenable.
It is important to remember that employees are responsible for their performance wherever they work, and department heads retain the right to make changes to support their teams and the university or department’s goals. Supervisors can require staff to be in person on individual days to meet operational needs, and employees should generally not anticipate taking an extra day to offset a required in-person day. AU will also implement “all hands days,” where those on remote schedules across the university or in certain divisions will be required to be in person, for example, for Preview Day. A known “all hands days” schedule will be distributed at the beginning of the academic year. Units will be encouraged to, where possible, identify early in the year where their unit will have dates that require staff in the units to be in-person to assist with planning.
The goal is to have a common approach to determine the hybrid work modality most suited for each position based on the needs of the university and job duties. Per the Schedule and Work Modality policy, please remember that “staff will be given at least a two-week notice of a change in modality or regular schedule.”
The university has developed a process and transparent criteria for all units to use to make decisions through a fair and equitable approach. In general, staff positions eligible for remote work have similar characteristics, but those denoted as Full Campus Presence or Hybrid 1 have a greater degree of those characteristics. Factors departments should consider when assigning a modality include but are not limited to the degree to which a staff position:
- Is responsible for face-to-face, walk-in, scheduled or unscheduled advisory or customer service to students, faculty, staff, or external customers.
- Requires the use of equipment or tools only available onsite.
- Requires a visual inspection of work to assess performance or ensure health, safety, security, or quality standards.
- Licensing, accreditation, or other compliance requirements require an onsite presence.
- Requires direct supervision, including frequent check-ins and collaboration.
- Involves supervision of staff whose presence is required.
There is no single rule or bright line on how much of these characteristics is required to distinguish full presence or mostly or primarily remote work. Departments may try an approach for a period (e.g., a semester) to determine the effectiveness and how it impacts staff performance, satisfaction, and fulfillment of goals. It is important to understand that the modality may change to meet university or department needs.
Work Modality Options
- Full Campus Presence: 5 days per week on campus.
- Hybrid 1: 3 or 4 days per week on campus and 1 or 2 days per week remote.
- Hybrid 2: 2 days per week on campus and 3 days per week remote.
- Hybrid 3: 1 day per week on campus and 4 days per week remote.
- Hybrid 4: 5 days per week remote and at least 1 day a month on campus. This modality is for select roles with duties amenable to this schedule and requires HR’s approval.
Employees seeking to work a full remote schedule and reside outside the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia, should follow the Out of State Staffing Policy.
What is AU’s dress code for faculty and staff?
At AU, all faculty and staff are expected to dress professionally, aligning with the nature of their role at the university and their function at any given time. Staff who work in certain university positions, such as facilities and public safety, are provided with uniforms. For other positions, in general, business casual dress is appropriate. Business casual dress generally includes shirts with collars, business casual tops and shirts, blouses, and polo shirts. Casual slacks, trousers, skirts, dresses, and jeans are appropriate but does not include shorts. Casual slip-on or tie shoes, boots, dress sandals, and athletic shoes are appropriate.
When meeting with parents, alumni, or external organizations, traditional business attire may be expected. Although it is impossible and undesirable to establish a universally applicable dress code given the range of roles and functions at AU, the university will apply a reasonable and professional workplace standard. An employee unsure of what is appropriate should check with their supervisor.