Flexible, Hybrid & Remote Work

June 24, 2022

THE FUTURE OF WORK AT PENN FOR STAFF

One of Penn’s distinctive strengths is the co-location of its 12 Schools and academic offerings on a contiguous campus. We are a residential campus and a connected community not only physically but also through our commitment to collaboration and cooperation, achieved through in-person interactions. The members of the Penn community expect and have relied upon prompt, efficient, and high-quality service among the various functions staff perform and as a result, onsite presence is essential. Penn offers opportunities to create a community that encourages effective collaboration while fostering a diverse and inclusive culture poised to retain talent and help develop and advance our staff.

Penn strives to employ a diverse workforce where people are engaged, connected, and thriving. To enable this aspiration, we support a culture where different modes of flexible, hybrid, and remote work may be permissible for staff consistent with institutional needs. As we navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed the resiliency of Penn’s staff in their ability to pivot to remote or hybrid work arrangements. The following Guiding Principles are a reflection of the lessons learned over the past two years and affirm our core principles, reflecting today’s landscape:

Guiding Principles for Hybrid/Remote Work

Flexible, hybrid, and remote work decisions should be guided by the following principles:

  • Support Penn’s institutional mission, vision, and goals-aligning with the operational needs of the department/business unit, continuing the delivery of world-class education and research by ensuring the work arrangement is appropriate for the position.
  • Remain a premier employer of choice by building an intentional culture of excellence, community, and diversity, through the recruitment and retention of staff in a supportive, productive, integrated, and flexible work environment.
  • Create a highly engaged, diverse, and inclusive workforce through a transparent and fair process and outcome.
  • Sustain service levels, quality of work, and productivity by allowing for flexibility in the use of technology, communication, and the optimization of space considering financial sustainability, safety, compensation, and benefits.
  • Manage the distributed workforce by aligning and developing training, communication, and reliable tools to support staff as we continue to evolve. 
  • Encourage work-life balance through an environment that leads to a more productive workforce and optimizing staff work. 

Key Definitions

Flexible work: Adjustment to working hours; compressed workweek; or another flexible working arrangement

Hybrid work: Workweek divided between being onsite and working remotely

Fully remote work: All work performed remotely

Considerations in Evaluating Flexible, Hybrid, and Remote Work Options

Flexible, hybrid, and remote work arrangements must align with school/center needs and staffing plans, and the agreement must be appropriate for the position. Considerations for approval must include a review of the following three categories to aid in the decision-making, defined below:

  • Required Onsite: The job duties either cannot be physically performed remotely or require a daily on-campus presence due to the nature of the role.  However, these job duties may be eligible to request flexible/compressed work arrangement. (Note: For hourly employees, the expectation is that flexible/compressed workweek arrangements will not create overtime pay obligations by causing the employee to work more than 40 hours/workweek.)
  • Hybrid Eligible: A portion of the job duties can be performed remotely, without loss of productivity or other negative impacts, but some work requires or benefits from onsite presence and/or in-person collaboration with other team members. 
  • Remote Eligible: All job duties can be performed remotely without disruption to other staff or student- and faculty-facing positions, loss of connection to customer-focused positions, and decrease in work productivity. Only salaried (i.e., exempt), non-temporary positions are eligible for remote work outside the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware).

    Note that for all positions, no remote work should be approved for work performed outside of the United States without prior consultation with Global Support Services.

Factors to consider in determining the approval of flexible, hybrid, or remote requests, include but are not limited to the following:

  • Approval of the request is expected to not diminish the work quality or disrupt productivity.
  • Performance is measurable. 
  • Supervision will not be hindered by flexible, hybrid, or remote work. 
  • Flexible, hybrid or remote work approvals are made without favoritism or bias, based on a documented analysis of the considerations described in these Guiding Principles. 
  • The obligations, duties, and relationships of staff will not be affected by flexible, hybrid, or remote work. 

Approval Considerations and Process

Request for hybrid or fully remote work plans must be approved by the department as well as the by the Dean, Vice President, or Vice Provost of the School or Center (or their designee). 

Due to additional compliance obligations resulting from situations where a remote work location is the primary work location, careful consideration should be given before approval is granted. Denial of requests are not permitted to go through the staff grievance procedure.

Fully remote work should not be approved for temporary workers or hourly employees who live outside the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware).

Flexible, hybrid, and remote work arrangements should be reviewed annually and may be changed/terminated at any time with at least thirty (30) days’ notice, if possible. 

Jobs may be posted as hybrid or fully remote but approval must first be received by the Dean, Vice President, or Vice Provost of the School or Center (or their designee). Job postings for hourly or temporary positions approved for fully remote work must indicate that the job must be performed from within the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware). See the Workday Supplementary Guidance for Recruiting for Hybrid or Remote Positions.

The staff member and their manager should review the agreement and the Flexible, Hybrid, and Remote Work Policy together. Following a conversation with the employee and their manager, go to the Workday@Penn Work Location Guide for step-by-step instructions for requesting, viewing, or ending a flexible work agreement in Workday.

Fully remote work arrangements should not be approved for employees working primarily from outside the United States. In most cases, international addresses cannot be listed as work addresses. If you wish to engage someone who will be working in another country, please contact Global Support Services to discuss your options.