The article explores some of the most important consideration when developing a work-from-home and hybrid work policy.
Who will the policy apply to
One of the first decisions when considering a hybrid work policy is whether it will apply to all employees or not. Depending on the different tasks undertaken in your firm, you may need several versions of your hybrid work policy – some more focused on employees that can almost entirely work remotely, and others for employees where a much more substantial in-person presence is required.
Part of the challenge of developing a hybrid work policy is developing a compromise that provides flexibilities to employees, is seen as fair, while still allowing your firm to operate effectively. This can be difficult to balance, especially since different employees will have different expectations of what is fair.
Which days of the week will employees come in
Another key decision when developing a hybrid work policy is determining the days of the week that employees will be expected to come in. You may for example decide to provide the flexibility for employees to pick themselves (potentially on a week-by-week basis) which days they will come in, or you may have defined expectations specifying when they will be working remotely and when they will be in person.
What equipment can employees use at home
Another element that needs determining is the equipment and materials that employees will be allowed to use when working from home. You may for example want to enact a policy that prevents employees from using their personal computing equipment for work purposes (or, their work-provided computers for personal use). Similarly, you will need to think to what extent you will allow employees to take paper-based material from the office home.
Determining and communicating appropriate behavior is important because otherwise, employees will likely decide for themselves what is appropriate – potentially some using their personal equipment when they want to, others bringing paper material home. Depending on the sensitivity of the work that you perform, such behaviors may not be the calls that you would want your employees to take .
How will you ensure that employees gain the support they need when working remotely
Another consideration when developing a hybrid work policy is determining how you will ensure that employees receive the support that they need when working from home. While in-person it may be easy to stop by a supervisor’s office to enquire about a particular decision or concern, this can become a lot more challenging when working remotely. Employees may not know who their colleagues are – potentially having never met in person. While an in-office component of work may reduce some issues relative to a full work-from-home policy, it is still important to consider how you will ensure that employees are not isolated when working remotely.
Will employees be expected to work regular hours on work from home days
Another decision that needs some consideration is the hours that employees will be expected to keep on work from home days – whether for example, you will expect them to start and finish at the regular time, or whether there is greater flexibility in the hours that they work when not in the office.
What will be the desk assignments in your in-person office
A final consideration is the office environment that you will have for employees when they are working in person. While assigned desks have been the norm, having a large proportion of employees work remotely opens the possibility of a hot-desking office environment. This opens the possibility of realizing savings from not necessarily needing a desk space for each employee, rather by sharing desks you can achieve greater utilization of the office space, and in turn require fewer desks.