There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed how we live and work.
Workplace and office closures ushered in a new era of flexible working arrangements, which allow employees to work from any location away from the office.
While this is a significant change in the way the workforce has traditionally operated, more and more companies are adopting remote and hybrid work schedules.
These two new models are proven to be beneficial for both the employees and employers.
For example, since remote/hybrid work arrangements provide greater flexibility, employees can experience improvement in their productivity and mental well-being.
However, like everything else, every new setup comes with new rules.
It’s critical for businesses to establish new work policies for employees and management to ensure that the team works smoothly and efficiently.
This article will discuss the need for such policies, what you should include, and how to communicate them to your employees for effective implementation.
- Why do you need hybrid and remote work policies?
- What to include in the hybrid work policies?
- Components of hybrid and remote work policies
- How to communicate the work policies?
- Final thoughts
Why do you need hybrid and remote work policies?
It’s no longer shocking news that many companies have adopted hybrid and remote work policies.
FlexJobs has listed 25 well-known companies that have switched to a permanent remote work setup, including Coinbase, Dropbox, Meta, and Lyft.
On the other hand, Microsoft has changed to a hybrid work setup for its employees.
That said, flexible work arrangements are new.
The old rules may no longer be suitable or timely.
As a result, businesses create new work policies that answer the current challenges.
It establishes rules and guidelines for employees regarding how they will work remotely.
Therefore, a work policy is an agreement between employees and the company that specifies when, where, and how they should work.
By establishing work policies, companies can avoid confusion and increase employee collaboration.
They can also attract talent and boost employee engagement due to their inherent benefits.
There is no perfect solution for developing these policies.
Each company should think of rules that work best for the organization’s situation.
Nevertheless, adopting a suitable model can put everyone on the same page, reduce security risks, encourage work-life balance, promote international hiring, and even save on real estate/office rent expenses.
What to include in the hybrid work policies?
You’ll have to include specific factors in your policies for precise and effective execution.
To avoid any misunderstanding, the policies should answer the why, who, when, what, and where questions.
You must also decide what type of flexible working arrangements will be imposed on employees.
For instance, hybrid work is a flexible model, but it is not limited to one setup.
Some companies adopt hybrid at-will, hybrid split-week, hybrid manager-scheduling, and hybrid mix models.
It would be best if you emphasized which hybrid model your company adopts.
Components of hybrid and remote work policies
To help you get started, we’ve gathered several essential points that you could include in your remote/hybrid work policies.
This section should explain why your company is transitioning to a remote/hybrid work environment.
You should also outline the remote/hybrid model your company adopts and mention the short-term and long-term goals.
Not every job can be done remotely, so you should identify who is eligible for the new schedule.
This ensures that everyone knows and can plan any measurable steps to make the remote/hybrid culture works.
In this section, specify when employees should come to the office in a hybrid setup.
For example, if you use a hybrid at-will model, employees can choose which days they can go into the office freely.
On the other hand, the manager determines which days the team will be in the office in the hybrid manager-scheduling work type.
For remote workers, specify when everyone should be available on workdays on all communication channels—for instance, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If your team members live in several different time zones, create mandatory available hours. In this specific period, everyone can align their tasks in synchronous communication.
In addition, establishing on and off-hours can help people maintain the necessary work-life balance.
Managing a hybrid workforce is not an easy task. It is absolutely mandatory to use a great software to help you keep track of everything hybrid. This relieves the stress on the team and the manager, while also helping to implement all remote and hybrid policies.
In this section, explain how remote workers should document their working hours, namely when and where online meetings are scheduled and how they can keep their superiors and teammates up to date on their workload.
Some businesses use a variety of applications to achieve a unified workflow.
As for hybrid workers, you can discuss topics such as how desk booking works, the number of days they are expected to report to the office, and other in- and out-office expectations they must meet.
This section allows you to explain the necessary software and equipment provided for employees working in remote or hybrid setups to ensure their productivity is not affected.
Companies typically provide laptops and other technical equipment.
Besides the role-specific software, such as CRM systems for salespeople, your team will need other apps that support employee productivity/communication.
For example, Time Doctor, Notion, and Slack for time tracking, project management, and exchanging messages.
Explain the safety precautions your company is implementing for those working in-office or in a hybrid setup.
Outline COVID-19 safety protocols like mandatory wearing of masks in lifts, social distancing guidelines, and desk/office cleaning procedures.
Your employees will feel more comfortable coming into the office to work by explaining these protocols.
The company can save money on rent costs by implementing a permanent remote work setup.
However, organizations still have to consider new expenses in the form of incentives or compensation.
Companies typically provide internet allowances as well as budgets for software licenses and other technical equipment to remote workers.
Businesses also specify whether such incentives are a one-time payment or part of the monthly salary.
Because this is a new system, you can provide links to the company website, FAQs, or other forms where employees can learn more about it, provide feedback, and ask questions.
Generally, all these should be built from the ground up.
You may want to conduct a regular employee pulse survey to see how effective the policies are, which areas could be improved, and which ones work smoothly.
Keep in mind that some employees prefer the remote/hybrid work setup, while others prefer to go back to the office.
According to a survey by Mercer, most U.S. employers prefer flexible work plans, with 70% adopting a hybrid work model and 20% returning to the office-based model.
Basing the policies on such surveys can help understand employee preferences and potentially increase employee engagement.
How to communicate the work policies?
Proper communication is essential for successfully implementing a hybrid or remote work policy.
Ineffective communication can lead to misunderstandings and mismatched expectations, which can affect the dynamics of your team and disappoint them.
Policies should be clear, enforceable, and representative when communicating to current and new remote employees.
To inform your existing team members, announce by sending out emails or notify them via internal newsletters.
As for informing the new joiners, create a dedicated section in their remote onboarding journey so that they can follow the rules right from the start.
You may need to repeat the process several times to ensure that everyone has read the new policies.
It is also recommended to organize a Q&A session or create a place where people can drop any questions they may have regarding the remote/hybrid work policy.
Involve the managers to make sure the new rules work correctly and that everyone is happy with the change.
Although the pandemic seems to subside gradually, the popularity of remote and hybrid work cultures doesn’t seem to die out.
In fact, offering a new work arrangement is now a significant differentiator in today’s labor market, and it has proven effective in retaining employees.
Developing comprehensive and functional hybrid and remote work policies protects yourself from staff crises and gives your employees more freedom and flexibility.
These will empower them, boost their morale, and allow them to be more motivated and productive.
Conduct a feedback session once you find the right balance of adopting remote/hybrid work in your organization.
Assess the results of the rules and continue to improve your policies.