Enhancing flexibility in the workplace is essential to boost talent attraction and employee satisfaction. However, it needs to be done effectively. Hybrid work policies are the skeleton of a successful, flexible work environment. From both employers’ and staff’s points of view, it removes confusion, prevents misinterpretation, and avoids biased behaviors. Everybody knows exactly the do’s and don’ts regarding working hours and location, plus where to find relevant answers in case of doubt.
To set up an effective policy, some rules apply. Crucial aspects like eligibility, security, technology, expectations, work-from-home benefits, etc., must be discussed and defined. We go through all this in this article and provide a template you can use as a starting point. The most important to remember is that developing procedures is a collective task. HR, Finance, IT, CRE, team leaders, and employees must work together to establish directions that satisfy everyone.
Implementing hybrid work can take various forms. Let’s see how to set up a flexible work schedule policy to embrace this modern way of working smoothly and successfully.
The reasons why creating a hybrid work policy is essential
The difference between a hybrid work policy vs. a guideline
Before digging into this topic, it seems essential to remember the difference between a policy and a guideline, as these terms are often used interchangeably. A guideline is an array of recommendations, while a policy is a set of rules employees must follow. For instance, a guideline would be, “Ideally, if you could come on-site once a week, that would be great.” A policy is “Hybrid team members must be in the office two days per week minimum.” Do you see the difference?
Hybrid work policies remove stress and confusion for everyone
There are different types of hybrid work models (remote-first, office-first, at-will, etc.) and multiple ways to implement them according to the company’s needs. The policy can be universal across the organization, including remote and on-site fixed days. It can vary to allow decision-making and to answer each employee’s needs. Lastly, it can also be flexible across teams, meaning the rules are individually determined between the manager and the coworkers. All this can be confusing, and people might not know what they are entitled to do.
The lack of clarity is one of the biggest issues in a hybrid work environment. Setting up a clear hybrid work policy helps you solve this issue.
Hybrid work policies make rules official and put everyone on the same page
You can’t assume that everyone will act like you would because you think, “It’s common sense.” We all have different points of view and experience. You might see a particular aspect in a specific way that seems obvious to you. At the same time, your teammate has an entirely distinct opinion regarding this topic. Being surrounded by colleagues with diverse views is a gift. It makes people and businesses grow faster by giving new perspectives to think about.
However, when it comes to ways of working, this can result in biased behaviors and conflicts. To avoid this, setting up some rules is fundamental. Like this, workers know what they are entitled to, and leaders do too.
From both managers’ and employees’ points of view, a hybrid work policy draws a line between what is allowed and what isn’t. For example, you can decide that your staff can visit the office whenever they want. However, they must come a minimum of two full days a week. Not only does understanding the do’s and don’ts give more clarity, but it also prevents unfair and unequal practices from happening.
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A few tips for establishing a clear and helpful flexible work schedule policy
Discuss with employees and other leaders before creating your new hybrid work policy
The goal isn’t to revamp your hybrid work policy every week because you realize a certain point doesn’t meet the needs of the company or the workforce. Therefore, you have to consider everyone’s expectations and take the necessary time to establish regulations and protocols that are on point. Like this, you won’t have to redo it as often, and your staff won’t be overwhelmed and annoyed by constant new updates and rules. This doesn’t mean that you do it once and then keep the same policy for the next five years. Employees’ expectations and the workplace evolve, so updating this document is essential. But for you, as much as your colleagues, it should not happen every month..
Be as specific as possible
One of the main reasons to create a hybrid work policy is to avoid confusion among your staff. Consequently, writing down a few points isn’t enough. You must be specific, cover many aspects, and answer as many questions as possible. Of course, more concerns might have to be replied to over time. But try to make it as straightforward and exhaustive as possible. Checking hybrid work policy templates and discussing with your staff which topics are unclear is a good starting point.
Make it your own
There is no one-size-fits-all hybrid work model. The ability to adapt to the organization’s and the employees’ needs is the essence of this way of working. Each industry, company, and workforce is different. Therefore, you should welcome the flexibility this working model offers to create a tailored-made hybrid work policy.
Stay open to feedback
Despite all your efforts, it might happen that your hybrid work policy doesn’t work for your staff. It is crucial to collect their feedback regularly, stay available, and be open to discussion at any time. It enables you to detect drawbacks and improve them as soon as possible. Moreover, it prevents some feelings of stress and frustration from arising among your workforce. This last point is fundamental as it can lead to an increase in employee turnover and burnout.
Share your hybrid work policy unconditionally
Once you’ve implemented your hybrid work policy, sharing it and making it accessible to all your employees is crucial. In case of doubt, they need to be able to refer to it whenever and wherever they are. Here are a few ways you can ensure this:
Send it by e-mail to everyone;
Talk about it during team meetings;
Share your hybrid work policy on your instant communication channel;
Download it onto your collaboration tools (Notion, Asana, or whatever it might be);
Hang the most critical points on the walls in the common areas (corridors, open spaces, food and chill zones, lifts, etc.).
The importance of answering the 5 W’s through your hybrid work policy
This section must explain why you implement a hybrid work policy for your staff. You’ve got the main reasons in the first part of this article, but some motivations are probably particular to your organization. Being transparent with your workforce about why you are setting up these policies is essential for them to understand all the logic behind the rules.
Who is eligible for flexible work arrangements, and to what extent? Some job positions make embracing the perks of hybrid work more challenging. It’s important that your hybrid work schedule policy mentions who is entitled to these rules and who isn’t. Like this, people know right from the beginning what they are allowed to do according to their status. Obviously, to create a fair and inclusive work environment, your goal is to find ways to enable more flexibility for everyone.
When should your hybrid employees work from home, and when should they be in the office? Another critical aspect in this section is how often they must be on-premises. For example, some companies allow their workforce to come whenever they want, except for one week per month when everybody has to be on-site.
This part of your hybrid work policy needs to be ultra-detailed. It must include your company’s expectations and everything your workforce is entitled to. For example, you have to mention the technology you provide, the security measures in place, the communication strategy, etc. Do you cover internet service, a percentage of the electricity bills, office furniture and supplies, etc.? Switching to hybrid work can increase some of your staff’s expenditures. Therefore, if it’s something you consider and your employees can benefit from a work-from-home stipend, it must also be stated clearly.
This section gathers all the “where” questions such as:
Can employees work from a third workplace or only from home?
Can they operate from abroad?
Where do they apply for flexible work arrangements (if they have to)?
Where can team members find more information about the hybrid work policy?
Where can they get support if they have an IT problem working remotely?
Hybrid work schedule policy template with downloadable PDF
Hybrid work policy overview
[Company name] wishes to give employees more flexibility in their working schedule in terms of hours and location. The following hybrid work policy aims to provide the entire hybrid workforce with clear directions to ensure employee satisfaction, collaboration, productivity, and performance. Therefore, this document outlines the rules regarding:
equipment and technology;
communication and collaboration practices;
remote work expenses and compensation.
This hybrid work policy applies to all [company name] employees as soon as their job duties allow it. In case of a specific request (temporary or permanent), managerial approval is required. Team members can fill out the flexible work arrangement forms provided by the company.
Flexible work schedule expectations
Employees are expected to come on-site every first week of the month daily. During the rest of the month, they can schedule their week according to the work hours and locations that suit them best. Consequently, [company name] allows location and time flexibility (flexitime) as soon as each team member works the number of hours mentioned in their contract and remains available during core hours (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
Working abroad is allowed up to three months per year, and the company must be notified.
Equipment and technology
The company provides all hybrid team members with home office equipment, including:
ergonomic desk and chair (upon approval).
Employees are also entitled to the following digital resources:
cybersecurity technology (see below);
desk booking software;
remote IT support.
Additional equipment (hardware and software) can be provided based on each employee’s role and responsibilities. Employees are responsible for preventing misuse and ensuring the safety of all the equipment being the company’s property. Important information: [company name] has the right to all data collected and stored on any company-owned and issued device.
Communication and collaboration
Employees are provided with modern collaboration and communication tools for both remote and on-site purposes. [company name] expect team members to use these resources when necessary in order to maintain collaboration and avoid the creation of silos. Employees must attend every mandatory meeting and conference they are invited to regarding their work location. Employees must remain available on [company’s instant communication channel] during core hours. E-mails must be answered within 24 hours.
Employees must also book their preferred workspace through the desk booking system provided as soon as possible and keep their hybrid weekly planning up-to-date, mentioning on-site and home office days.
Remote work increases the risks of cyberattacks and data breaches. Therefore, all employees are required to attend cybersecurity training to learn and apply the best practices regarding hybrid workforce security.
Employees are also provided with:
multiple factor authentication;
a VPN system.
Employees must not leave the company’s equipment and information unattended. Public WIFI must only be accessed with a VPN, and downloading unauthorized software is forbidden. All employees must sign the NDA agreement and adhere to all data encryption standards.
Remote work expenses and compensation
To support employees with remote work expenses, the company provides a $600 work-from-home stipend (per year) aiming to cover:
Internet services costs;
coworking space subscription;
any other remote work-related charges.
Do you want to use this flexible work policy example as a starting point to develop your own?
You can then fill it up and add specific sections based on your company’s and workforce’s requirements. We hope this article and template help you understand better why you should set up a hybrid work policy and how to do it. Don’t forget to include your employees in the process to make sure you also consider their needs and create an effective, flexible work schedule policy.
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