In this new era of hybrid work, the way that millions of people do their jobs has dramatically changed. Microsoft, for example, released a March 2021 report called "The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready?" This article reveals some of the tensions that employers now have to navigate: 73% of employees want their flexible work options to continue, but 67% also want to get back to more in-person work in the future.
Remote work has many advantages (e.g., happier employees and no commute), but also a few noteworthy downsides. Some workers find it harder to connect with their colleagues, and there are many potential sources of distraction and stress at home that can damage productivity. For these reasons, many companies view hybrid work policies as the best of both worlds (or as Microsoft puts it, "Hybrid work is inevitable").
So how can you implement a hybrid working model within your organization? In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about a Hybrid work policy.
What Is a Hybrid Work Policy, and Why Is It Necessary?
Hybrid work is a flexible working paradigm that gives employees more freedom over where, when, and how they do their jobs. This may apply to individual employees, who work both from home and in the office. The concept of hybrid work can also apply to entire workplaces, with some employees on-site, others telecommuting, and still others doing a mixture of both.
A hybrid work policy is a document that describes a company’s stance and requirements toward hybrid work for its employees. Hybrid work policies formally outline all the regulations and expectations that workers must follow when telecommuting.
By explicitly detailing these matters, hybrid work policies ensure that executives, managers, and workers are all on the same page. For businesses looking to transform their workplace and improve employee satisfaction and productivity, enacting a hybrid work policy is a necessary first step, thus next we will discuss how to get started with a hybrid working policy.
What to Include in a Hybrid Working Policy
A good hybrid work policy should cover all the basics, including:
- Eligible positions: A hybrid work policy should specify which roles can be done remotely and which must be in person. White-collar knowledge workers are more likely to be eligible for telecommuting, while other jobs require a physical on-site presence.
- Worker expectations: The policy should also discuss expectations for employees who are working remotely part-time or full-time. For example: do these people need to be at their desks during regular business hours, or does it not matter as long as they get their work done?
- Collaboration and technology: Which tools will remote workers use to collaborate with their colleagues? Videoconferencing software like Zoom got a big boost during the pandemic, but there are also platforms for communication, file storage, project management, and more to consider.
- IT security: Telecommuting poses additional IT security issues when employees are remotely accessing company resources. Hybrid work policies should enumerate cybersecurity best practices for remote work, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), firewalls, antivirus software, and multifactor authentication.
When drafting a hybrid work policy document, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the ultimate goal of hybrid work? Is your organization hoping to improve employee productivity or happiness with a hybrid work model? If so, how do you plan to measure these metrics and track them over time?
- How will we get feedback or make adjustments? Hybrid work influences every corner of the organization, from IT to human resources. It’s only natural, then, that everyone affected by hybrid work should be able to provide feedback and suggestions when creating your company’s hybrid working policy.
- How will this affect new employees? For example, should you advertise your hybrid working model as a benefit to prospective hires? How will onboarding work for employees who are hired once the new policy is in place?
How to Make Hybrid Work Fit Your Company Culture
Hybrid work offers the possibility for millions of employees to reevaluate their relationship with work—but only if it integrates with your existing company culture.
The good news is that for most companies, a well-implemented hybrid work environment won’t be too difficult for employees and managers to accept. In the 2021 report “The Future of Work: Productive Anywhere” by Accenture, 83% of workers said that a hybrid work model (i.e., one working remotely between 25% and 75% of the time) would be “optimal.”
Still, companies need to roll out their hybrid work policies carefully, soliciting feedback and iteratively editing the document to avoid bulldozing over workers’ concerns (as discussed above). Most important is to understand how a move to hybrid work will help fulfill the organization’s principles, mission, or values.
Looking for more information and guidance? Check out our article “Everything There Is to Know About Hybrid Work.”