To ensure a well-structured policy for home and hybrid working, integrate the following research-backed components into your policy framework. The aim is to provide a comprehensive document that supports your hybrid model.
Hybrid Policy introduction
Establish the importance of hybrid working, referencing research that highlights the benefits for both employees and the organization. Emphasize the organization’s commitment to embracing flexible work models and creating a supportive work environment.
Policy review cadence
Clearly state the frequency and process for reviewing the hybrid working policy, emphasising the organization’s dedication to continuous improvement and adaptation based on emerging research and employee feedback.
Hybrid working definitions
This is not a hybrid policy-specific inclusion, but it is important to note that not all employees may be acquainted with the ideas and terminology of working in a hybrid model. This can be overcome with simple and precise definitions of key terms related to hybrid working, drawing on industry-accepted definitions and research literature to ensure clarity and consistency, while providing a strong basis for additional reading should any employee wish to do so independently.
Our definition of hybrid working is:
‘A range of ways of working that vary the time, pattern and place of work to (wherever possible) support the lifestyle needs of the individual whilst delivering high levels of team performance’.
That said, this is an apt part of the policy to make a clear distinction between flexible working and hybrid working. This is usually defined as what an employee can do by choice to aid flexibility as opposed to hybrid working structures that are company-wide with deviations requested and determined by a line manager. The policy should stress that hybrid working is optimal when implemented and observed on an organizational level. Some roles within that structure may still have a higher degree of freedom in their choice of work environments than others, but the tools, methodologies and etiquette need to be applied consistently by everyone for hybrid to underpin holistic change and success.
Outline hybrid working practices
This is the crux of the policy. Outline the various hybrid working arrangements available within the organization, supported by research that validates the effectiveness of these models in promoting employee productivity, satisfaction, and work-life balance.
Provide examples of how pre-policy surveys and consultations have impacted the creation of the hybrid model adopted.
AWA found the majority of offices (58%) have introduced some form of hybrid policy.
We work with senior leadership teams to create tangible processes and guidelines which then get converted into a Working Together Agreement (WTA). We then train leaders so they know more about the subject and how to facilitate discussions with team members. The output is a series of agreements, guidelines agreed at organizational level and team level with complete buy in.
The AWA Hybrid Working Index notes 26% of offices with a hybrid policy, vary it at a team level, while 26% of offices are mandating their people to come into the office 2 or 3 days a week
Working environment in the hybrid model
This is another key section. The policy needs to integrate or reference research findings on home office setup, ergonomic practices, and digital infrastructure requirements to ensure a safe, secure, and productive working environment. Emphasize the organization’s commitment to employees’ health, safety, and well-being. Some organizations may even wish to certify their people to work at home beyond a certain number of days.
It is also the opportunity to stress that hybrid doesn’t equal remote. Outlining how the existing office environment functions in a hybrid model can be a powerful indicator of this. You can find more information on workplace strategy and shaping your office for success in a hybrid model here.
The AWA Index found organizations that mandated their workforce to come into the office three days a week, as opposed to two, only resulted in an increased attendance of 0.1 days a week on average.
Other important practicalities of an HR policy
Address how existing practical considerations such as health and safety risk assessments, equipment provision, expenses, tax implications, insurance coverage, and employer access rights are impacted.
Detail the importance of providing equal opportunities for training, development, and promotion to both remote and on-site employees. Emphasize the organization’s commitment to fair and consistent performance evaluation across all work arrangements.
State that employees will be provided with clear performance metrics, expectations, and evaluation methods. Address potential challenges in assessing remote work performance and establish a fair and consistent evaluation process.
Encourage line managers to focus on an outcomes-orientated approach to performance management. Aim for employees to have a clear understanding of the outcomes expected and are empowered to deploy an approach that best enables them to deliver to these outcomes. An inputs-managed approach tends to restrict employee autonomy and over-burdens line managers.
Security and compliance
Incorporate research-based guidelines on data security, privacy, and information handling for employees working remotely. Reference studies or existing policies outlining best practices for secure document storage, data transmission, and compliance with data protection regulations.