Developing a Hybrid Work Policy to Suit Your Business
— July 25th, 2022
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the hybrid working model has dramatically increased in popularity. In fact, one study found how 74% of American companies have chosen to adopt a hybrid work model.
Simply put, a hybrid work model is one in which employees split their time between working remotely and working from the office. In other words, hybrid working 'combines the best of both worlds’ by giving employees a say in when and where they work.
With more leisure time, a better work-life balance, and less time spent commuting, there are many reasons employees have developed a fondness for hybrid working.
With US and European data showing that around four in ten jobs can be conducted from home, it looks like flexible working is here to stay.
If you are seeking to incorporate hybrid working into your business or change your current hybrid working procedures, you'll need to create a hybrid-working policy.
Communications Planning Template for a Hybrid Workplace
What is a hybrid work policy?
A hybrid work policy is a policy that provides much-needed clarity to employees about what it means to split their time between working from home and working in the office.
It will generally outline things such as who can work on a hybrid basis, the best practices to follow, and the rights of hybrid employees.
There is no single way to implement hybrid working, so a hybrid work policy will vary from company to company.
In other words, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to hybrid working policies. Your hybrid working policy will be customized to the specific needs of your business and its processes.
A hybrid working policy is crucial for any organization seeking to implement hybrid working permanently.
What are the benefits of hybrid working?
When it comes to hybrid working it’s a win-win situation for you and your employees alike. Here are some of the biggest advantages of the hybrid work model
- Better employee satisfaction
- Improved mental health
- Greater work/life balance
- Increased productivity and efficiency
- Reduced operating costs
- Access to a wider talent pool
- Makes tracking employee performance easier
- Increased employee retention
- Improved company culture
- Reduced exposure to illness
- Environmental benefits
What should you include in a hybrid work policy?
When implementing a hybrid work model within your organization, you will need to create a unique hybrid work policy that is catered to your company’s specific needs.
Here are some areas to consider when outlining your hybrid-working policy:
1. Working procedures
One of the most critical parts of your hybrid work policy is information on working procedures, primarily the split between attending work in the office and working remotely.
You will need to set clear guidelines so employees can track where they need to be on which day. The number of days an employee is permitted to work from home may depend on factors such as:
- The employee's job role
- What is happening within their role and team at any particular time
- Their circumstances
- The needs of the business, including available office space
When outlining your organization's hybrid working policies, you should also answer vital questions, including:
- What are roles in the company (if any) not suitable to be carried out remotely?
- Will employees be required to follow a hybrid working schedule?
- Will workers need to book desks before going to the office?
- Are there any particular tasks you would prefer employees to carry out in the office (or vice versa)?
- Do employees have set or flexible working hours?
2. Communication methods
Communication has always been a crucial element of running a successful business. However, effective communication is particularly important when it comes to hybrid working.
When employees spend part of their week working from home, there are fewer face-to-face interactions, and workplace relationships start to break down. This poor communication leads to reduced productivity, ineffective teamwork, lack of innovation, and increased employee turnover.
For effective internal communication within your organization, it's essential to include information about how everyone will communicate under your new hybrid working model.
For example, your policy may state, 'All employees should use the following channels for all official engagements: Slack, Google Meet, Teams, and WhatsApp.'
3. Location requirements
You will need to create clear protocols regarding where employees are permitted to work when working remotely. Some companies do not enable their employees to work abroad due to legal or data protection issues.
If you allow your employees to work from any geographical location, you must proceed with care. Your hybrid working policy should clarify that any staff working abroad must provide details of their work location. This information is needed as there may be tax, immigration, and regulatory implications if they operate from a separate jurisdiction.
4. Remote working guidelines
Your hybrid policy should clearly define employees' expectations when working remotely in the locations you have specified. Some policies may include information about working from home, including:
- Setting up an at-home workspace - will the company provide the required equipment, or will the employee need to supply it themselves?
- Roles and expectations - setting clear expectations around productivity for remote employees.
- Data protection protocols - how should essential documents be handled when moving between the office and remote locations
- Compensation and expenses - will your employees receive any extra compensation on days they are operating from home for costs such as electricity, Wifi, and heating?
Communications Planning Template for a Hybrid Workplace
Hybrid work provides employees with flexibility by allowing them to work both from the comfort of their own homes and their offices. There are many advantages to this working model including improved work-life balance, more efficient use of time, and less chance of burnout. If you have previously or are currently implementing a hybrid work model within your organization, you will need to create a hybrid working policy.
Hybrid working policies aim to provide clarity to workers as they move freely back and forth between the office and remote environments. There is no one size fits all approach to hybrid working, so you will need to create a policy that caters to your company’s unique set of needs. Examples of things to include in your hybrid working policy include working procedures, best practices to follow, communication methods, and remote working guidelines.