Top Tips for a Drafting a Hybrid Work Policy That Works
The pandemic dramatically increased the popularity of remote work. As the world seems to be returning to some normality, a few businesses have requested that employees return to the office space — but a new way of working might be emerging to shape the future of work.
The hybrid work method is a flexible working model, partly on-site and partly remote. A hybrid work policy outlines where, how, and when employees should work from home and when they should come in for office work.
As more people have discovered the benefits of hybrid work, employees and businesses are increasingly choosing this operating method. For example, 77% of UK employees want a mix of face-to-face and remote working options.
In this post, we provide some tips that will help you draft a successful hybrid work policy.
What is a hybrid work policy?
A hybrid work policy is a framework on which your approach to work will be built. It clarifies the values, rules, and expectations shaping your approach to hybrid work.
In the post-pandemic working world, nine out of ten organizations will combine remote and on-site working methods in a hybrid system, often in different and unique ways.
A hybrid work policy makes sure that all employees are on the same page, avoiding confusion and maximizing collaboration. As the business landscape is ever-changing, a hybrid work policy is necessary to successfully transition from a fully remote team to in-person work (or vice-versa).
Your policy should ideally cover the following:
- Company values and culture
- The hybrid design
- The hybrid work schedule
- Expectations in a hybrid work environment
- Frequently asked questions, links to HR guidance, and signposts to further information to assist with understanding the policy.
- An evaluation – allow for feedback during the implementation phase.
And here are 11 hybrid work model examples to inspire your policy template.
Tips for starting your hybrid work policy
Various hybrid work models inspire teams to work differently, and they all rely on a hybrid work policy. Keep the following tips and ideas in mind when planning your hybrid work policy.
1. Gather input from across the organization
As a team leader, you have insight into the needs of your employees, but nobody understands their productivity levels better than the employees themselves.
Consider sending out a survey to get the opinions of your team members, or book a 1-on-1 check-in to gauge their thoughts.
These discussions will highlight opportunities for the hybrid work policy, identify limitations and consider diversity in the overall work method. For example, single parents may need more time at home, and those living with disabilities could save on transportation costs and the effort of commuting.
Do you need help connecting with your team members? Please read our guide on how great managers run their 1-on-1s.
2. Determine how potential hybrid work models fit into your company culture
Hybrid work, and your policy, are just a part of the larger company culture. It’s essential to ensure this policy fits the culture and mirrors its values and priorities.
Company culture is a significant drawcard for top talent, and a cultural fit can improve productivity and employee happiness. One study shows that 73% of professionals left a job due to poor cultural fit.
3. Be open to feedback
There are as many opinions as people in the company. It’s essential to listen to feedback and be open to change. Incorporating relevant feedback ensures the policy is collectively embraced and supported.
What to include in your hybrid work policy
Workforce policies used to cater mainly to on-site workers, yet 83% of workers in an Accenture study believe the hybrid model is optimal. Including the following details in your hybrid work policy ensures a smooth transition without compromising productivity.
1. A definition of the company’s understanding of hybrid work
Hybrid work is a spectrum, and while some companies may consider unlimited PTO an appropriate interpretation of hybrid work, others may prefer that employees come into the office once a week. Defining the company’s interpretation of hybrid work and how it will manifest in the company is the first step in drafting the policy, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
2. Eligibility criteria
A flexible schedule is at the heart of a hybrid model, but that doesn’t always mean everyone has free reign to work when, how, and where they want. Drafting eligibility criteria helps to iron out the hybrid work arrangements that will maximize productivity and ensure employees meet the required working hours.
Some key thoughts to consider include:
- Who does this policy apply to?
- Why are some not eligible?
- What is the company doing to support those not eligible?
- Is there an approval process? What is it?
There are a few thoughts that should guide these criteria. For example, cybersecurity is a major concern for remote employees. In turn, specific tasks may require a VPN, or employees may need to complete tasks from particular locations as extra safety measures.
Working from home is considered one of the most valuable perks in the post-pandemic working environment. So, if certain employees are not eligible for remote work, then the reasons need to be clearly outlined (just applying it to full-time workers might not be well received, for example).
The company also needs to support those not eligible for the hybrid work policy, ensuring that there is no discrimination in the process.
3. Rules and practicalities of your hybrid policy
The more detail that you record in the hybrid policy, the better.
While describing the details of the policy, there are a few key points to cover;
- Is there a limit to the number of days working from home? If yes, what is the limit?
- Are workdays fixed or variable?
- Is approval needed to work from home? Who grants this approval?
- What destinations are appropriate for employees to work from?
- What tools will ensure success (shared documents, messaging software, etc...)?
In addition to the general structure, there are a few specific instances to highlight in the hybrid work policy. For example, onboarding employees may require more face-to-face time, and new projects could demand more team meetings using video conferencing tools such as Zoom for project management.
Suppose the company is new to the hybrid work model. In that case, it’s worth assessing company data and performance metrics to identify which teams work well using remote communication tools and which struggle. Maintaining communication and support regularly through tools such as Slack is also essential.
Top Tips For Implementing a Hybrid Work Policy
1. Know your team’s purpose and what you want to achieve
To develop an effective policy, you’ll need to:
- Know your team’s purpose
- Understand how you want to communicate (tools, meetings, etc.)
- Define how you want to collaborate
- Decide which tasks are better achieved on-site or at home
Additionally, leaders need a shift in mindset toward trusting that teams can achieve progress on projects and tasks without needing to see it on-site. Knowing what you want to accomplish in a hybrid environment and weaving this into your policy will ensure successful results.
2. There is no one-size-fits-all solution
Unlike the business-wide code of conduct stipulated in the employee handbook, a hybrid work policy is flexible and adapted for each department and team.
While a tech team can safely work remotely with a VPN, the marketing team may need to meet face-to-face for physical brainstorming exercises. When drafting a hybrid work policy, keep the needs of each team in mind and adapt the guidelines as needed.
3. Strengthen technology and digital infrastructure
Embracing hybrid work means that not all your employees will be on-site during a hybrid team meeting. Some will be working from a home office, and others may be traveling and working on the go. These groups may experience connection or bandwidth issues.
Investing in your organization’s technology and communications infrastructure is key to a fruitful hybrid work policy.
Evaluate your current IT systems and the digital skill-set of your employees. Your assessment will help determine what technology, tools, resources, and learning are needed before you design the appropriate model that best suits your team.
Some of the most critical digital considerations to include are:
- How strong and stable is your organization’s network? Can it facilitate your workers connecting from home and other off-site locations?
- How tech-savvy are your employers? Can they comfortably use digital conferencing software and other collaborative tools?
- Do you have the budget for the cost of digital tools that can make hybrid working possible?
4. Keep everyone connected
Whatever the flavor of hybrid work you decide to go for, it is crucial that all employees feel connected and part of a team. Proximity bias is a thing and can quickly derail even the most well-intentioned hybrid work policy.
Proximity bias is the tendency to favor those closest to us. It can negatively affect team members who prefer working from home, working part-time or even those who are not in the office during important meetings or events. It’s essential always to keep this in mind and take steps to ensure all voices are being heard and given equal space to express themselves.
The feeling of being part of the team can also be boosted by:
- effective communication tools
- ensuring senior leaders are accessible
- regular 1-on-1s with management
- rewarding success consistently
- demonstrating fairness in decision-making
Expected outcomes and future development of the policy
As mentioned, there is no single solution to a hybrid work model, and your policy should meet your business goals. Establish expected short- and long-term outcomes to help meet these goals.
Measure these outcomes and provide reports to determine whether the hybrid work policy is effective. Sometimes, you may need to adapt the policy rules or provide additional support and accountability.
The hybrid work policy should do the same as the company culture evolves. Planning clear goals and expected outcomes is essential in monitoring this development.
Make your hybrid work policy easier with Roots
An effective hybrid work policy demands strategy and drafting of specific guidelines, and the incorporation of tools to overcome particular challenges. At Roots, our tools are committed to building a more robust company culture, increasing team collaboration, and reducing burnout for hybrid and remote work teams.
In addition to helping you draft your policy, here are a few ways that we can make your hybrid work policy easier.
Organizing PTO for remote workers can be more challenging, especially without knowing everyone’s specific work schedule. Yet our nifty PTO platform helps track, request, approve and analyze employee PTO. Seamlessly integrated with Slack, PTO automatically monitors PTO balances and takes action when needed.
Not only does PTO inform employers of when employees are taking time off, but it also alerts to possible burnout. By syncing with calendars and HRIS, everyone stays in the loop!
Providing support for employees
It can be challenging to monitor the health and well-being of employees in a remote environment. Human resources managers and team leaders need to make a conscientious effort to check in with employees regularly.
Our 1-on-1 platform helps managers and leaders check in with their team from the comfort of Slack. These check-ins are essential for building a solid foundation, documenting progress, and embracing an agile approach to business.
Team building is vital to strengthen collaboration, diversify the environment and boost productivity, yet team building can be more challenging with remote teams. Our virtual water cooler solution is effective in building lasting bonds between teammates.
Roots Connections is excellent for remote teams, high-growth startups, and large companies with a risk of isolation and disconnection. Connections brings teammates together and improves cohesion by creating team interest groups, sparking watercooler conversation topics, and setting up meetup roulettes.
Are you ready to kick start your hybrid work policy? With the help of Roots, your new hybrid work policy can strengthen your work culture and maximize results. Get started with Roots today!