A Blend of On-Site and Remote Work Thrives

Fourth annual Working@Duke survey highlights preferences for work location flexibility

Diamond Riley sits at her desk in the Graduate School

Four years after COVID transformed how and where people work nationwide, Duke isn’t showing signs of moving away from work location flexibility for roles that don’t directly involve patients and students.

Franca Alphin walks on a path near the woods
Franca Alphin, Associate Professor in Family Medicine and Dietician at Duke Student Health, takes a break for a walk on a day when she works from home. Photo courtesy of Franca Alphin.

To assess work location desires of staff and faculty, Working@Duke conducted an online poll at the end of 2023 for the fourth consecutive year. Of nearly 3,500 employees who responded, 41% work remotely one to four days each week, while 27% – like Riley – are fully on-site. Among employees who responded, 32% work fully remotely, slightly lower than 2022.

Nationally, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources found that in 2023, 24% adopted a hybrid schedule, while 65.5% primarily worked on-site. Gallup reports that across the U.S., 52% of individuals in remote-capable roles maintain a hybrid schedule

“It gives more options for people to get certain tasks done while at home,” said Antwan Lofton, Vice President for Duke Human Resources. “It has a lot of benefits.”

Franca Alphin, an Associate Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health and Dietitian at Duke Student Health, works a hybrid schedule that gives her coveted face-to-face time with colleagues she’s grown to rely on during her 35 years at Duke.

When she’s on campus, Alphin teaches and sees students clinically in Student Health. When she works from her Pittsboro home, she takes telemedicine calls – and can take a neighborhood walk with a friend or toss in a load of laundry.

Like Alphin, many employees (41%) in the Working@Duke survey ranked no commute as the top benefit of remote work, while 25% listed flexibility to balance work and personal obligations as a top benefit.

A hybrid schedule lets Alphin log on her computer at 7 a.m. and skip a 45-minute commute each way.

“I can divide my day up very differently,” she said. “I just love having both options. I couldn’t imagine doing one extreme or the other anymore.”

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