The COVID-19 pandemic completely disrupted the traditional notion of "the workplace" and pushed companies to rapidly adopt remote and hybrid work models. With a remarkable 74% of U.S. companies currently using or planning to adopt a permanent hybrid work model, it's evident that hybrid work is here to stay. In this changing work landscape, you need an effective hybrid work policy that's tailored to your organization's unique requirements.
But what exactly should a thoughtful hybrid work policy contain? This comprehensive guide will walk you through crafting the best hybrid work policy for your organization's needs. From defining eligibility to setting expectations around hybrid work schedules, technology, and collaboration, these best practices will help you implement a robust hybrid work model.
Writing Your Hybrid Work Policy
Kick off your hybrid work policy with an introductory section covering the key points below.
State the Purpose of the Document
Clearly explain the rationale behind creating a formal hybrid work policy. For example, you may state that the policy outlines your company's approach to balancing in-office and remote work. It should define eligibility, attendance expectations, workplace safety procedures, technology guidelines, and other key details.
What You Learned During the Pandemic
Reflect on your company's experience navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. How did your culture and operations evolve? What did you discover about individual working styles and team effectiveness?
Frame this as an opportunity to proudly share how your organization persevered to continue serving customers despite immense disruption. Celebrate key discoveries that now inform your approach to hybrid work.
Input Used to Develop Your New Approach to Work
Explain how substantive employee feedback shaped your hybrid policy. Considering using surveys, focus groups, leadership discussions, and other formal channels to gather insights.
This demonstrates that your hybrid work decisions considered diverse viewpoints from across your company. It wasn't just dictated top down.
Overview of the Policy
Briefly summarize your overall hybrid work policy in one or two sentences. For example, you may state that your company is adopting a flexible hybrid work model in which individual departments can tailor their policies to their own needs. Or you may have a centralized policy with certain expectations for both in-office and remote employees.
Timeline for the Policy Rollout
Provide the expected time frame for implementing this policy, including key dates when teams will start working under the new hybrid policy and any other relevant milestones. This heads-up helps employees plan accordingly.
Principles Informing the Policy
Before detailing your hybrid policy, communicate the philosophical principles that guided your policy decisions. This important section sets the tone for how employees will embrace the new model:
- Commitment to safety: Reassure employees that health and safety will remain the highest priorities even post-pandemic. Describe workplace modifications and other measures you've implemented to keep the office safe at all capacity levels. Your policy provides flexibility, but not at the expense of employees’ well-being.
- Values: Explain how your hybrid approach reinforces company values like trust, accountability, inclusion, or transparency. For example, the policy may empower employees with flexibility and trust that they’ll deliver results, regardless of location. Values-based language gives the policy a deeper meaning.
- Guiding principles: Outline the foundational ideas you want the team to adopt as you implement this policy. For instance, "We each contribute to enhancing our hybrid work strategy," which encourages participation in providing feedback and offering solutions rather than expecting a flawless initial policy from the organization.
- Commitment to continuous learning: Acknowledge that despite careful planning, your hybrid policy won’t be perfect from the start. As you execute the policy, you’ll discover areas that need to be refined. Pledge to regularly solicit feedback and revisit the policy as needed. Position it as a “living document.”
Approach to Hybrid Work
With your guiding principles established, now detail the nuts and bolts of your hybrid work policy.
At What Organizational Level Is the Hybrid Work Policy Set?
This is your chance to indicate the degree of centralization or decentralization in your hybrid work policy. Here are the various options you might consider:
- Company-wide policy: It's the uniform hybrid work strategy for the entire organization. In this scenario, decision-makers include the executive team, chief human resources officer (CHRO), and CEO.
- Department-level policy: Each department tailors its hybrid work policy to its own needs, and the department head makes the decisions.
- Manager-level policy: This approach empowers individual teams to define their hybrid work strategy. With this policy, the team managers act as decision-makers.
- Individual-level policy: Each team member defines their personal hybrid work approach. In this scenario, individual team members are the decision-makers.
A centralized policy ensures greater consistency company-wide, while a decentralized one offers more flexibility across the organization.
Hybrid Work Eligibility
Explain which employees or roles are eligible for the hybrid work policy. Can all employees work remotely? Are interns, contractors, and new hires eligible? Clearly articulate any restrictions that may be in place.
Workplace Attendance Expectations
Define expectations around physically coming into the office, if applicable. Is there a minimum number of in-office days per week or month? Are certain teams or roles required to work on-site more than others? Be specific so the expectations are clear.
Online Availability Expectations
If your organization has locations across time zones, consider outlining consistent hours when employees should be available online for meetings and collaboration. This facilitates coordination across dispersed teams.
HR Policy and Process Updates
Describe any changes you're making to your HR policies and processes to align with hybrid work:
- Internal mobility and transfers: Explain whether the hybrid work model gives employees the flexibility to relocate or transfer to new teams internally. Also, explain how managers should handle hybrid-driven transfer requests.
- Compensation: Address any adjustments to compensation, such as location-based pay bands for remote employees.
- Benefits: Outline any changes to benefits packages, including additional wellness perks or resources that can help support home office setups.
- Recruiting and hiring practices: Given its new hybrid work capabilities, will your company broaden its talent pool and hiring approach? Discuss recruiting beyond your headquarters' metro area to attract applicants nationally or globally.
The Evolving Purpose of the Workplace
With more employees working remotely, communicate how your physical workplaces are evolving to complement hybrid work.
The Workplace as a Collaboration Hub
Describe your vision for the workplace as a vibrant hub for live collaboration, connection, and culture. Establish how the office further enables the teamwork and social experiences that remote work may lack.
Highlight physical workspace enhancements such as online meeting spaces and informal social areas. With desk sharing, individual workspaces may be less permanent.
Ensuring a safe work environment remains important even in the hybrid work landscape. Investments in workplace safety include measures such as ergonomic office setups and regular sanitation protocols for shared spaces. These measures collectively contribute to the well-being and productivity of employees.
Discuss any modifications that team members might observe in the services offered within the workplace. These may include adjustments to food and beverage provisions or other in-office services.
Discuss new workplace technology, such as videoconferencing in meeting rooms, being added to help include remote participants. Virtual whiteboard applications and cloud-based file sharing can also facilitate seamless collaboration.
Where to Get Workplace Support
Provide details on whom employees should contact for any questions about building access, technical support, meeting room reservations, workspace reservations, and other on-site needs. Share links to scheduling tools, IT help desks, and other resources.
Coordination in a Hybrid Work Environment
In an attempt to blend remote and in-office colleagues, your hybrid policy should establish well-defined practices for collaborative work:
- Communicating your work location: Ask employees to voluntarily share their planned work location each day through a team channel or virtual check-in board. This transparency helps colleagues make informed scheduling choices and prevents miscommunication.
- Making hybrid meetings inclusive: Strongly encourage a video-enabled virtual component in every meeting. Establish etiquette for screen sharing and chat monitoring to keep all attendees engaged.
- Inclusive virtual workflows: Prompt colleagues to move real-time conversations and decisions into online channels when possible to keep their remote peers looped in. Ask those working on-site to proactively summarize hallway discussions and in-person decisions through collaborative platforms like chats or shared documents.
- Leveraging purpose-built technology: Describe the helpful technology your company uses to power hybrid collaboration. This may include enterprise videoconferencing platforms, online whiteboards, virtual watercoolers, and team productivity suites.
Next Steps for Rolling Out the Policy
Conclude your hybrid work policy by outlining the next steps for launch and continuous enhancement.
Reiterate your commitment to regularly collecting input on the policy through surveys, focus groups, manager feedback, and other channels. Describe how employees’ perspectives will help shape future iterations of the policy.
Share any plans for training that will equip managers to lead high-performing teams under the hybrid policy. Topics may include balancing flexibility and accountability, supporting employees' well-being and connection, and optimizing inclusive hybrid meetings.
Central Hub for Questions
Provide details on where employees can access FAQs about the policy and whom they should contact with additional questions or concerns. Consolidating this information in a central knowledge base or with a dedicated HR contact can prevent confusion.
Excitement for the Future
Close your policy announcement on an inspirational note by expressing genuine excitement about this new chapter for your company. A heartfelt message that looks ahead resonates more than generic corporate jargon.
The Scoop Hybrid Workforce Platform
Creating a hybrid or remote work policy is a strategic requirement for organizations in today's rapidly changing landscape. By embracing the flexibility and productivity gains that hybrid work has to offer, you can adapt to the demands of the current environment and position your organization for long-term success.
With Scoop, you can effortlessly manage workplace capacity and attendance, enforce safety protocols, and give employees valuable insights into their teammates' work locations.
Learn more about Scoop and how it can support your hybrid work policy. Get started for free and revolutionize how you plan and coordinate your team's hybrid work experience.