October 26, 2022 by Andrea Rajic

What Is a Hybrid Work Policy and How to Create One for Your Team

 What Is a Hybrid Work Policy and How to Create One for Your Team

Table of contents

    #1

    What Is a Hybrid Work Policy?

    #2

    Who Should Create a Hybrid Work Policy in Your Organization?

    #3

    How to Create a Hybrid Work Policy for Your Business

    #4

    Factors to Consider When Creating a Hybrid Work Policy

    #5

    Create a Remarkable Hybrid Work Policy for Your Business


Resources

Many companies have had to navigate through the pandemic crisis quickly: switching to the remote or hybrid work models was, in many cases, the only way to save the business. But this task hasn’t been easy.

There are too many aspects to consider: working hours, work schedules, suitable tools, expectations when it comes to virtual communication, and more. On top of that, employees are looking to rely on leaders while going through the transition, while leaders themselves are facing these challenges for the first time.

Given that the research shows that 68% of the American workforce claims they would like to adopt the hybrid work model fully, the answer is clear. Hybrid is the future of work, and leaders need to provide their workers with structure and clarity.

A way to achieve that is to create a hybrid work policy. In this guide, learn what it should include and how to build one for your team.

What Is a Hybrid Work Policy?

While fully remote companies don’t work in-office, and their teams are distributed all over the globe (or at least a city or a country), hybrid work refers to organizations that work both remotely and from the office. In the past few years, the number of such companies dramatically increased, and in 2022, this trend isn’t going anywhere.

It’s impossible to switch to hybrid work without properly established rules that will facilitate the process both for executives and employees. Even though this form of work is considered highly flexible, it still needs a little structure. If by implementing hybrid work, you mean announcing to your team that they can work from home two times a week to cut down on commuting, you’re bound to face failure pretty soon.

Why? Here are a few questions you may not have the answer to. On which days can your employees work from home? Will their workweek be flexible? How will they hold meetings and communicate with the rest of the team? You need well-defined rules for these questions before you send your team off to their home offices.

A hybrid or remote work policy is a set of guidelines that help you:

  • Have better control over how and when your employees work outside of the office
  • Provide the necessary tools and tech support for your hybrid employees
  • Make sure your company data is protected regardless of work locations
  • Ensure employee performance and engagement stay high
  • Reduce employee dissatisfaction and increase retention by eliminating stress and confusion

Creating a hybrid policy is beneficial not only for the reasons mentioned above but also because it helps maintain a strong company culture, which is one of the top reasons why executives are hesitant to finally embrace the hybrid work arrangement.

They fear they won’t be able to maintain a strong company culture if they’re physically away from their employees, which is why 62% of them believe two to four days a week at the office are necessary.

However, the number of days spent working face-to-face isn’t the key factor in the successful implementation of hybrid work. It’s all about guidelines that are clearly defined and accessible and work in favor of everyone within the organization.

Who Should Create a Hybrid Work Policy in Your Organization?

Although it’s the executives’ and managers’ responsibility to lead, creating a successful hybrid work policy is supposed to be a team effort to work well for everyone.

First, the C-suite and the managers need to analyze the way they’ve been managing their business over the last two years. When they’re able to identify their strengths, pitfalls, and goals, it’s time to gather feedback from their employees and turn the effort over to Human Resources, People Ops, and Employee Experience teams.

That will help them create a policy that won’t only be good for the organization itself and aligned with high-level business goals, but it will also help the company keep and attract talent, especially if it operates globally.

How to Create a Hybrid Work Policy for Your Business

There isn’t a universal answer to what your hybrid work policy should include since it all depends on a company’s needs and goals. Still, there are a few steps you can take toward creating an effective policy for your business:

  1. Bear in mind that a growing number of employees want flexible work options. Therefore, you shouldn’t consider it something you’re “forced” to do but a benefit that can help you improve the way you do business and manage your remote workers.
  2. Don’t copy other companies (not even your competitors) and blindly implement strategies that seemingly work for them. Your business is unique, and you should explore different policies to find what’s the best solution for your team.
  3. Document everything. Having a policy handbook makes it easier to resolve possible conflicts and make onboarding new hires easy, as they have all the rules within the reach of their hand. And it can serve as a good reminder for your employees - if the policy guidelines are accessible at all times, they can go through them again whenever necessary.
  4. Define KPIs so you can measure the performance of your newly implemented policy. How do you determine if you’ve done everything well? You may measure employee satisfaction, their productivity, monitor team performance and communication, track employee engagement, and more.
  5. Provide training for your employees. A handbook with guidelines is fine, but they may need additional support from someone who’s gone through this shift before them. Your team may also need practical training to learn how to use different project management or communication tools, and if you want the transition to run smoothly, make sure your employees have someone to ask for help when necessary.

Need help creating your hybrid work policy? We made a handy template to help, with guidelines on definitions, eligibility, and communication for hybrid and remote employees. Download it HERE.

Factors to Consider When Creating a Hybrid Work Policy

Here are multiple factors you should consider when creating a hybrid work policy for your business - and outline them clearly in your document.

Aligning your schedules

Clearly define the schedules different departments and individuals need to stick to when it comes to working from home and coming to an office space (or a designated flex workspace). What works for your team depends on your business needs, but, generally, you have several options:

  • Have everyone work on-site on the same days
  • Rotate departments or teams and have everyone do in-person work on different days
  • Combine these two options and have different on-campus schedules every week

If running a global team, you need to take different time zones into consideration. Make sure you find a balance so your employees at the office don’t need to stay at work too long after their working hours to have a meeting with their colleagues across the world. To manage this challenge, you can:

  • Identify when different time zones overlap
  • Promote async communication and work-life balance

Define the types of meetings you consider necessary and how often they need to be held. Determine the best way to run them - in person or through video conferencing. You can also explore different platforms to hold these meetings, depending on the number of people who need to attend them.

Communication

One of the biggest challenges of hybrid work is communication. You need to consider two important aspects of efficient hybrid workplace communication: tools and expectations.

First of all, define what tools you’re going to use for sharing different information with the team and other remote workforce management needs - emails, Google Meet, Slack, Basecamp, Asana, Notion, etc.

Define what internal and external communication involves and which channels you’re going to use for each purpose. With all this in mind, promote async communication whenever possible - it’s a way to keep the workflow uninterrupted, even if there are hiccups somewhere along the line.

On the other hand, setting clear expectations and boundaries will prevent misunderstandings and issues. No one should be online and available 24/7, so ensure every person on your team knows when they can message or call their colleagues while being mindful of their time zone. If communicating via Slack, allow your team to set the “away” or “busy” status when they’re focusing on work, so no one interrupts them.

Defining different roles and processes

The goal of establishing a clear hierarchy in each team isn’t to demonstrate power but to show that there’s a clear process in place - not only when a problem emerges but in everyday job duties, too. To manage that, your employees should know who’s in charge of what, so they know who they can talk to in specific situations.

Also, make sure every team member knows what they need to do - when they check in at the beginning of the shift, when they complete a task, if they stumble upon an issue, if they have a question, before a meeting, before they check out for the week, etc. This can be a time saver and eliminate unnecessary steps in your procedures, making the whole system more efficient.

Roles and processes should be documented in all stages of the employee journey, from setting the conditions of employment to hybrid work procedures.

Tools and equipment

Providing your employees with the necessary equipment when they’re working from home can be tricky, especially in terms of data security. How will you protect confidential information your employees need to work with when they’re not at the office?

If you buy your staff computers, ensure you can track each device so the company data can be safe wherever your team works from. Provide cybersecurity training and educate your employees on how to recognize phishing and create strong passwords.

Choose the right tools you’ll use for different purposes in and outside the office, and make sure everyone has access to their accounts. If it’s a new tool, help your staff manage it by providing them with video training with tutorials.

Interpersonal relationships

Finally, there’s the human component of a hybrid team. We often focus on the practical aspects of running a hybrid company and forget that we also need to nurture team spirit and engagement if we want to be successful.

Interpersonal relationships are a bit more challenging to maintain when you’re working remotely or in a hybrid work environment.

Define your employee wellness strategy by choosing the most suitable ways to boost the team morale: organize casual chats, team building activities, company offsites, encourage using flexible workspaces for employees who live in the same city, nurture honest communication, and make praise a habit.

Create a Remarkable Hybrid Work Policy for Your Business

What are the values your company stands for?

Bear them in mind while writing your hybrid work policy and try to reflect them in your guidelines as much as possible. Running a hybrid workplace isn’t easy, but with an effective policy in place, this experience can become even more rewarding than you imagined.

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Andrea
Written By

Andrea Rajic

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