Love at First Visit for Fully Remote Staff Member

Sarah Lang, who works fully remote from Florida, visited campus for the first time

Photos from Sarah Lang's visit
Sarah Lang, who lives in Florida, got to visit Duke for a few days late last year.

Hired in March of 2022, Lang is part of a growing number of Duke employees who work fully remote from outside of North Carolina.

Data from Duke Human Resources shows that, in 2023, Duke has 468 employees working in states other than North Carolina, up from 156 in 2020.

Lang, one of 63 Florida-based Duke employees, had never been to Durham prior to December. When she received an invitation to a departmental holiday party, she booked the trip.

Her visit covered the better part of two days, during which she crammed in as many Duke and Durham experiences as possible.

She visited the Nasher Museum of Art, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and the American Tobacco Campus. She grabbed Duke T-shirts for herself and her daughter at Duke University Stores and caught the music-filled service at Duke University Chapel.

Sarah Lang got to visit Duke University Chapel while in Durham.

And with the December chill giving her a break from sunny Florida, she cherished the opportunity to simply walk around campus, letting the last of the fall leaves crunch under her feet.

“I expected the campus to be beautiful, and it really was,” Lang said. “It felt like I was on a movie set.”

The highlight of her trip was her team’s holiday gathering at Ponysaurus Brewing in downtown Durham. Lang chatted with colleagues she’d only known virtually and learned about their lives and roles at Duke.

“It was great to meet in person,” said Timothy Durning, a grants and contracts manager with RASR who leads Lang’s team. “It was nice to have casual conversations about different aspects of work and life.”

For Lang, Duke is more than an employer, it’s a place she says she’s proud to be part of.

“Working fully remote from day one, it has been hard for me to feel connected and understand that I’m part of something much bigger than the small corner of my home office,” Lang said.

“Now, I feel more connected, I feel like I’m more a part of the team.”

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