Many organisations who have opted for work-from-home arrangements during the pandemic have experienced the benefits of a remote workforce firsthand. Now that it is more common to return to in-office working, the question is, how do companies continue to take advantage of the benefits of working from home and working in the office? A hybrid working model, where employees work a combination of from the home and from the office, is a good solution for many companies. Here are some ways how to best implement a hybrid working model, and what to consider when developing a hybrid working policy.
Why have a hybrid work policy in place?
Workplace policies outline procedures for a particular business aspect. Workplace policies are both legislation compliance documents, as well as documents that clearly lay out day-to-day operations. Having a clearly written policy that highlights standard operating procedures in a hybrid working model means that there is no room for misunderstanding amongst employer and employees.
The benefits of having a hybrid work policy in place include managing expectations amongst employees, less room for discrimination and streamlined procedures.
What to include in a hybrid work policy document?
The scope of the hybrid work policy
Describe what jobs/departments/seniority are eligible to work-from-home. As an example, remote working might only be granted to more senior executives. In which case, working from home can be used as an incentive for more senior employees.
Standard operating procedures for various communication channels
As an employee moves between different workstations at home and at the office, it becomes vital to have procedures in place with regards to file storage and document versions. All the latest work must be accessible from both workstations. Procedures for what communication channel is to be used for what type of communication between team members and co-workers is important to avoid missing a message if it is not communicated on the correct platform. For example, specify that Slack is the primary task management tool and that the app notifications need to be switched on.
Hours and availability
Being full-time in office means that co-workers are able to physically see who is in the office and immediately available. With a hybrid working model, this becomes more challenging by their lack of physical presence in the office. An organisation-wide calendar where leave and work-from-home times and dates are indicated will inform co-workers of one another’s availability.
Tools and equipment for the job
The policy should outline what equipment will be provided by the employer and the usage policy of such. This can include phones, printers, WiFi and stationery. Employers need to choose whether or not the employee utilises a work computer or personal computer or a combination of both. Other considerations include storage space (hard drive or online), IT support and who is responsible for specialised programmes required to do the job.
Security and privacy of data protocols
It is of utmost importance that the home internet connection must be secure. Should there be a reason why the employee wants to work from a public space like a coffee shop, the policy must specify what networks they can and cannot access. Open access internet puts confidential company information at risk.
Furthermore, consideration should be given to what happens if the computer with sensitive company information gets stolen and what can be done to keep information secure.
The above mentioned points are from a template developed by Ring Central for creating a work-from- home policy. It is a good starting point for setting up a hybrid work policy.
RecruitMyMom has seen that a hybrid working model benefits companies by attracting and retaining highly skilled staff, especially female staff who value employers that respect work-life integration.