For these reasons alone, many companies view hybrid work policies as the best of both worlds.
So how can you implement a hybrid working model within your organization? But first, let’s get to know what a hybrid work policy is.
What is a hybrid work policy?
To put it simply: it is an agreement that outlines where, when, and how employees can work. They can be temporary or permanent, and describe who can work hybrid, the best practices to follow, and the legal rights of hybrid employees.
Why create a hybrid work policy?
Establishing a hybrid work policy provides the following opportunities for companies:
1. Attract and retain diverse talent
2. Increase productivity and innovation
3. Build social cohesion
4. Reduce employment and real estate costs
5. Provide employees with increased flexibility
Creating and operating a hybrid work policy is a complex process since there is no generic right answer. The fact there is no right answer should provide comfort and you should expect iteration, resistance, and an emotional rollercoaster.
The Benefits of a Hybrid Work Model
For both businesses and employees, there are a number of benefits to hybrid work arrangements, such as:
Real time in person connection enhances collaboration and cannot be fully replicated in a remote environment. No matter what kind of interactions, the kind of conversation that can only occur in a shared workspace can drive innovation and resolution.
Better work-life balance:
It is essential for employee well-being and a healthy work environment. When your employees have control of their schedule and can decide when they can commute or stay at home, they feel empowered in making their own choices for their own well-being.
Work-life balance is essential for employee well-being and a healthy work environment. When employees have control of their schedule and can decide when they’re commuting and when Happier employees are also more likely to stay at your company, which is better for retention and your human resources department.
Access to deeper talent pools:
Many people have become accustomed to the perks of working remotely. By offering a hybrid model, businesses can expand the talent pool they choose from to include a greater geographical area and a larger group within that area who might not be able to commute or aren’t interested in working in an office space every day.
The future of work isn’t necessarily one where everyone works remotely full-time, but it will definitely be one that includes flexibility. C-suite executives, managers, and team leaders must consider this evolving approach and put as much effort into documenting and distributing a hybrid work policy as they do for other work-related initiatives.
The Challenges of a Hybrid Work Model
As with any new way of working, hybrid work arrangements have a number of challenges too, especially in the absence of a formal policy.
The first is lack of clarity. It can be challenging to get your team members on the same page with employees shaping their ideal work environment. How many days in the office differentiate a remote worker from a hybrid worker from an in-office worker? Will they receive a smaller work-from-home allowance because they’re spending fewer days at home? Do they have to inform their managers when they’ll be coming in, or do they have unlimited access to the space? These are all important questions that shouldn’t be left to the last minute.
The second challenge is productivity. Hybrid employees struggle with the same productivity pain points as remote employees, with burnout, focus, and disruptions at the top of the list. Working from home can quickly blur the lines between work hours and personal time, and as the workday extends beyond traditional hours, it’s not uncommon for employee well-being to suffer and burnout rates to increase.
When your home and your workspace are dual functions, personal distractions such as checking social media, doing chores in between checking emails, or taking care of family make it harder to focus on their job duties more than ever and can impact performance. While some of these challenges might be mitigated when employees choose to come into the office, they are then faced with new drains on their time and focus like commuting.
From a managerial standpoint, gauging the productivity of a hybrid employee is a challenge since you can’t simply glance over to see what your team members are doing. You have to learn to trust your employees and find new ways to gauge their productivity from a distance. The best way to do this is to use workforce productivity analytics and transparently leverage data in conversations and coaching opportunities with employees.
What to Include in a Hybrid Working Policy
If you’re wondering what to include in your hybrid work policy, it should cover all the basics, including:
Specify which roles can be done remotely and in person. White-collar knowledge workers are more likely to be fit for telecommuting, while other jobs require a physical appearance in the office.
It should discuss expectations for employees working remotely part-time or full-time. Do they need to be at their desk from 8 to 5, or does it not matter as long as they get their work done?
Collaboration and technology:
Know which tools remote workers will use to collaborate with their colleagues. Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and other platforms for communication, file storage, project management, and more should be considered.
Enumerate cybersecurity best practices for remote work, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), firewalls, antivirus software, and multi-factor authentication. This is important to keep in mind as telecommuting poses additional IT security issues when employees access company resources remotely.
What security measures need to be considered with having some employees in the office and some working from home?
What are the safety measures put in place for employees in the office? Ex, masks and social distancing.
How will the company measure the productivity of remote workers vs in-person workers?
What equipment do the remote workers need and will the company provide it?
Are remote workers expected to have the same dress code as in-person workers?
Will the benefits be the same for remote and in-person employees?
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. 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.