Hybrid and Remote Work

As Brown returns to significant in-person operations, updated work arrangements may be available to some employees who have job functions that can be performed remotely.

In early June, the University announced plans to return to significant on-site operations, and a phased return schedule for employees working remotely will ensure mostly in-person operations by September 2021, when the fall semester begins. A Future of Work Steering Committee developed new policies for staff working remotely to return to on-site work and new guidelines for who might request flexible work arrangements.

Faculty have received information from the provost regarding requirements (and exceptions) for faculty expected to be on campus for normal in-person attendance to perform their regular duties, while this email is being shared with all employees to outline policies for staff working in academic and administrative units.

Position Classifications for Staff

As Brown returns to more in-person operations, updated work arrangements may be available to some employees who have portions of jobs that can be performed remotely if those arrangements benefit their office or department and the University. All employees are encouraged to review the revised and enhanced Brown University Alternative Work Assignments (AWA) policy, which establishes new categories of eligibility for positions that supervisors may consider for remote or hybrid work arrangements. The policy outlines the process for requesting an AWA.

All union and non-union staff positions of grades 13 and below (this does not include student workers) will fall into the following three classification categories. Employees holding positions in all three classifications are eligible to request an AWA:

Entirely on-site (not eligible for remote/hybrid work schedules). The job duties cannot physically be performed remotely and are required to be performed on campus. With the supervisor’s approval, and based on the operational needs of the University and the essential functions of the job, employees in these positions may be allowed to have flexible/compressed work week arrangements provided such arrangements do not lead to overtime pay or lead to operational disruptions or inefficiencies.

Hybrid eligible. While most job duties are required to be performed on campus, a portion can be performed remotely. Generally, work can be done off-site without loss of productivity and efficiency, but most work requires on-site presence and/or in-person collaboration with other team members and/or mentoring. Employees in these positions may request hybrid schedules/locations utilizing the enhanced AWA process. Hybrid eligibility classification does not guarantee that a hybrid schedule will be approved. In order to designate a specific position as hybrid eligible, supervisors will need to carefully review:

  • the nature of the position and work performed, the essential functions of the position, operational needs of the unit, and the effects of a hybrid schedule on team members and on other departments (such as collaborations, mentoring and workflow distribution and coordination);
  • the employee’s ability to work efficiently and effectively remotely; and
  • appropriate technology/computing support to accommodate a hybrid schedule.

Remote eligible. We expect that full-time remote work may be available only on a limited basis in cases where such arrangements meet the operational needs of the department and benefit the department and the University.

Staff in University Human Resources are readily available to assist anyone at any time with questions or consultation. Questions can be emailed to universityhr@brown.edu.

Considerations for Staff Requesting AWAs

University Human Resources (UHR) has developed guidance for department heads and supervisors to support the implementation of the new position classifications. This guidance is based on the enhanced AWA Policy. A guiding principle is that equity is essential in assigning classifications. Position classifications should be equitable and consistent across departments and divisions, and the expectation is that they do not frequently change.

Position Classification Guidance


UHR will offer two training models to support the revised and enhanced AWA policy for employees who request hybrid schedules or flexible work arrangements. One training will be mandatory for managers, and the other module will be offered to staff to assist them in writing an AWA.

  • A Guide to Reviewing Alternative Work Assignments (AWA) Requests: This mandatory training for managers will provide key AWA policy-related information; a suggested five-step process for focusing on the Future of Work; and a step-by-step approach to planning a discussion surrounding an AWA denial.
  • A Guide to Writing an Effective Alternative Work Assignments (AWA) Request: This training for employees will provide key AWA policy-related information to inform an AWA request, along with suggestions for writing an effective AWA request. 

Last updated Aug. 3, 2021. Information on this page may be updated as the University’s planning evolves and/or public health guidance prompts a shift in Brown’s operations and protocols.