AU’s guidelines for remote work will remain in force
The guidelines for remote work adopted in the wake of Covid-19 will remain in force without modification. They will be re-evaluated in two years.
The university is the primary workplace for all staff, with the possibility of flexibility – depending on local needs and conditions. This is the essence of AU’s guidelines for remote work which have been in force since May 2022. The guidelines have just been renewed without changes.
As planned, occupational health and safety and liaison committees have solicited and reviewed feedback on the current guidelines over the last year, and have concluded that staff and management are generally satisfied with them. As a result, the Main Liaison Committee (HSU) has decided to renew the current guidelines – and has recommended another review in the summer of 2025.
The guidelines emphasise that the university is the primary workplace for all staff. Working on site encourages collaboration, both internally and externally, knowledge-sharing, coordination and collegiality, in addition to contributing to a strong culture of collaboration. At the same time, the guidelines leave room for flexibility: remote work is an option, so long as it is compatible with high quality and efficiency in the performance of tasks, collaboration and well-being – both for the individual and for the university community.
University director Kristian Thorn emphasises that the guidelines apply to all staff. He said:
"We're a campus-based university, and it’s important for quality, culture and collegiality that our workplace is a vibrant one, where you feel you belong to a community. At the same time, flexibility is part of the modern workplace, and it can have a major impact on well-being and motivation for the individual to be able to work remotely in situations where this makes sense in relation to your tasks. The key words are balance and adapting to local conditions, and we’ve seen that our current guidelines can accommodate that.” He also suggested that staff and managers in each unit – with the involvement of their liaison and occupational health and safety committees –should consider whether there might be a need for a renewed discussion of their own practices and agreements with regard to the possibility of working remotely.
Olav W Bertelsen, HSU vice-chair and staff representative, agrees that on the whole, the guidelines have worked well:
“The guidelines make room for flexibility and local variation, and generally reactions have been positive,” he said. “The guidelines also demand that they are interpreted and implemented appropriately and sufficiently flexibly at the local level – and I think it’s important to address the issue together at the local level in cases where staff and managers have different expectations.” He added that he predicts that remote work will become a theme in coming years, not least in connection with recruitment.
Staff can agree on the terms and scope of remote work with their line managers; as a general rule, such agreements should not be permanent and highly formalised. Rather, remote work should be organised when and as needed to reflect the needs and circumstances of the individual and the unit.
Read the guidelines on the staff service website. Please contact your line manager if you have questions about the guidelines.