Advantages and challenges of hybrid and remote Alt-Ac work

Advantage

The challenge

Talent recruiting

  • Significant advantage in hiring full-distance talent, as alt-acs often have significant geographical / partner challenges.
  • Hybrid job options can entice alt-acs to join a university or team within an organization.
  • Rarely in the path of established institutional policy, onboarding of completely distant non-offculture educators remains a challenge.
  • Expectations of hybrid work flow in most organizations, with little understanding of what will become the new routine of campus work. This uncertainty can increase the recruitment challenge.

Retain talent

  • Hybrid work options can be a sweet place to retain alt-ac talent, as the flexibility of work allows for a more sustainable balance of professional and family needs.
  • Hiring talented full distance alt-acs can be easy but hard to hold.
  • When a remote work culture is not created and maintained, non-resident alt-acs may feel less connected to the organization and less hesitant to move to another job.

Diversity

  • The deeper recruitment pools that occur with remote and job options improve the diversity profile of eligible candidates.
  • Institutions may run the risk of a diversified remote / hybrid non-faculty academic staff due to being less woven into campus fabric.

Entertainment

  • The epidemic has shown that there is no loss of productivity when alt-acs work remotely or hybrid.
  • The alt-ac workforce can increase productivity as it is able to work more flexibly, and can be recruited independently from geography as a more talented team.
  • It may be that the high productivity of remote / hybrid alt-acs being remote / hybrid during the epidemic was mostly a job.
  • It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

Faculty collaboration

  • Teachers are now universally comfortable with virtual meetings.
  • The advantages of using the same tools for faculty collaboration that are used in synchronous teaching / learning (zoom, etc.).
  • Remote and hybrid work reduces the chances of unscheduled and random conversations with teachers around campus.
  • Faculty and non-faculty educators spend less time in each other’s physical spaces and probably miss out on some interaction and understanding.

Staff cooperation

  • Alt-acs have been able to increase the intensity of meetings with coworkers (no travel time) by shifting to virtual (zoom) meetings required for remote and hybrid work.
  • The proliferation of asynchronous collaboration tools, such as Slack, has helped keep colleagues away from email.
  • Rules regarding mixed-private and virtual meetings (xMeetings) have not yet been established and these meetings can be frustrating for everyone involved.
  • Now it is common for alt-acs to spend their days zooming in, with back-to-back scheduled meetings.

Student collaboration

  • Distance learning educators are ideally located to teach online programs at their institution (or other institutions).
  • HyFlex (personal and virtual) programming can be designed to include student participants and is accessible to a wide variety of students.
  • Completely remote alt-acs are challenged to teach private courses at their institution.
  • Completely remote and hybrid alternative educators spend less time on campus and therefore have less disorganized interaction with campus-based students.

Campus community

  • The campus community benefits from the integration of talented alternative educators who can work in the organization due to the new remote and flexible work options.
  • Campus culture that depends on the interaction density between students, faculty and staff can be challenging to replicate the dynamic energy of residential higher education.

Institutional leadership

  • With existing strong campus networks and relationships, alternative educators cannot influence the ability to apply institutional leadership when working hybrid / remotely.
  • In institutions whose influence depends on relationships and absolute knowledge, completely distant and hybrid non-faculty educators may find it challenging to form alliances and make an impact.

Disciplinary / professional contribution

  • With less emphasis on “seat time” in a new more flexible work culture, alternative educators may be able to free up time to contribute to the discipline / profession.
  • The disciplinary / professional contribution of remote / hybrid alt-acs may be less visible and valuable to the organization.

Long-term career growth

  • Distance / hybrid career opportunities may enable long-term flexibility and growth opportunities for alternative educators.
  • Alternative academics who are either completely remote or hybrid may have little chance of taking on a leadership role on campus if academic leaders return to a predominantly personal manner.

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