The COVID 19 pandemic changed how many people work. We went through lockdowns, home working, furlough and days when the number of staff in a workplace was limited due to social distancing. Post pandemic, this had resulted in employers and employees considering the future of their workplace. A survey by PWC provided some interesting insight into how employees are now thinking about work:
- Only 9% of those who can work remotely want to go back to a traditional commute and work environment full time.
- 72% of respondents who can work remotely say they prefer a mixture of in-person and remote working.
- 19% would be happy to not return to an office at all and work entirely remotely.
Based on this data if your business offers hybrid working and doesn’t already have a policy on this in place, it’s a good idea to get one.
What is a Hybrid Working Policy?
In short, a hybrid working policy is a policy that sets out the arrangements for where, when and how employees can carry out their work. Naturally these arrangements will vary by employer. Some roles and business sectors lend themselves to hybrid working more than others, so your policy needs to be really clear. This is so that all staff can understand if and how it applies to them.
Why is a Hybrid Working Policy important?
Having a hybrid working policy is important as it sets the standards and expectations for employees to follow when they are working on a hybrid basis. By having a clear policy, employees will have a framework to work within. Whilst it would be impossible to cover all eventualities for all businesses, a good hybrid working policy should provide information on the following as a minimum:
- Which roles and/or teams the policy applies to as standard
- The set days or minimum number of days on which hybrid workers must be in the office every week/month
- A hybrid worker’s work location when not in the office (either at home or in a public space)
- Working hours when working away from the office. A business may have core hours when everyone must be available for work regardless of their work location
- Data security and confidentiality arrangements
- DSE assessments and home office risk assessments
- Provision of company equipment
- Contributions towards hybrid worker energy bills
- Lone working considerations and check in arrangements
- Absence reporting on non-office days
What are some Hybrid Working advantages and disadvantages?
Hybrid working arrangements certainly offer both employers and employees a number of advantages. Employees will benefit from an improved work-life balance. They will save time and money on commuting (which also has environmental benefits). Those who also work at home often tend to be more productive.
Employers will profit from increased employee engagement and retention. This is because their employees will typically be happy with the flexibility and autonomy that hybrid working gives them. When they are looking to recruit, the offer of hybrid working widens their talent pool and makes them a more attractive proposition. Employer costs may also reduce as they will need less physical space as hybrid workers can hot desk on office days and other expenses such as office supplies, heating and lighting will reduce when fewer staff are in the workplace.
On the other hand hybrid working can have its downside. Managing staff and effective team working can be trickier when they don’t happen in person. Staff can feel lonely when they only see colleagues intermittently and this can lead to issues around mental health and wellbeing.
IT and data security can be problematic when staff are logging in using various devices and locations. If a business isn’t on top of this, they can be vulnerable to cybercrime. There’s also the health and safety of staff working at home to consider and issues around DSE assessments and suitable equipment. If a business gets this wrong or ignores it completely then it could be costly as this recent HR Director article points out.
Is Hybrid Working here to stay?
All the indications are that hybrid working is very much here to stay. Developments in software and collaboration technology will drive the trend further, so even if your business isn’t ready for hybrid working at the moment things may change. If your business is already on board then make sure to get a policy in place and review it regularly so that it is fit for purpose and actually reflects your day to day hybrid working practices and arrangements.
Having a paperless HR software can help towards the ease of managing your employees when working remotely, so why not see how HRX can help? You can even give a try for FREE for 30 days when you sign up for your free trial!