Hybrid work offers employees the best of both worlds — the flexibility of remote work and the collaboration and camaraderie of in-office time. But juggling a remote plus in-office workforce is no mean feat. Often, homeworkers end up working longer hours with fewer career advancement opportunities than their in-office counterparts. A clear hybrid working policy can help you avoid such pitfalls of hybrid work.
Further, lack of a formal hybrid work policy could lead to confusion, uncertainty, and even decreased motivation among employees. In some cases, it could also create two classes of workers, remote and in-office, with remote employees being treated as “second-class.”
The strongest hybrid work policies build equitability, set rules for remote work, and outline any additional employee benefits.
Just as a workplace policy or employee handbook outlines dos and don'ts for employees, hybrid working policies should also lay down clear criteria and rules around hybrid work and also provide best practices for employees.
1. Determine Eligibility for Hybrid Work
It may not be possible for all roles to work hybrid. For example, front desk employees, field staff managers, and facility management staff might need to be in the office each day to perform their work.
Identify the roles in your office that are eligible for hybrid work. Usually, customer-facing roles that work specific hours or those involved with physical, on-site work are not eligible for hybrid work.
Outline scenarios in which these roles might request work from home from their managers. For instance, once or twice a month, you might have employees from other departments like marketing or finance to cover office-based roles like the front desk and allow work from home for these employees.
2. Set Up a Hybrid Work Model and Schedule
Hybrid work isn’t one-size-fits-all. Your hybrid work model might be remote-first, where employees are allowed to work fully remote or for the majority of the week, or it might lean toward more in-office presence.
Because the term "hybrid" can mean so many things, outline the number of remote workdays allowed in your office and the advantages for each preference. Common options include:
- Remote 1-2 days per week: Because these employees are in the office more frequently, consider offering a dedicated office or desk and parking space.
- Remote 3-5 days per week: Employees might have to surrender dedicated office desks but will be provided a hot desk or common area to work in the office. They may be eligible for visitor parking.
- Fully remote: These employees don’t have dedicated workspaces and may be eligible for visitor parking. They might only visit the office on occasion for a few hours.
If you offer fully remote roles, specify if these roles are based out of specific countries, states, or cities. For instance, if you need fully remote employees to come to the office occasionally for client meetings and events, you might prefer employees based in your city or region.
For employees choosing hybrid work, specify if they will set their hybrid work schedule or if schedules will be manager-led. Employee-led hybrid work schedules offer maximum flexibility and increase employee productivity, as employees know best the work environment suitable for the tasks they want to accomplish on a given day.
Whatever style you choose, mention your standard business hours too, so everyone knows when they should be available for work-related communication. Keep in mind, certain roles like customer support might need to work specific hours, even remotely.
3. Review Employee Compensation
If you allow fully remote work with the option to relocate to another city or country, you might consider adjusting employee salaries to the cost of living in their city too. Be clear about how an employee’s location and work preference (in-office, remote, hybrid) affect their compensation, so employees can weigh the pros and cons of their choice.
Remote company Buffer shares their salary calculator publicly. Also, here’s a cost of living calculator from PayScale, aimed at job seekers, but also useful for employers. Use these as a starting point to determine employee compensation if you’re not sure where to begin.
4. Expand Wellness and Health Benefits
While hybrid work offers ample flexibility, it has downsides too. Employees working mostly remote might feel isolated and depressed, while some might need coaching on avoiding burnout.
Outline the steps you’re taking to safeguard employee health and mental wellbeing while working hybrid. A few ideas include:
- Offer virtual health consults on platforms like Teladoc and Wellthy and virtual mental health services like Talkspace and Lyra Health.
- Offer stipends for exclusive in-office perks like childcare and gyms.
- Provide a few hours of free mental health counseling in addition to virtual consulting, if they’re not part of your Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).
- Conduct free sessions with experts on topics like resilience, identifying burnout, addiction, disordered eating, and caregiving.
- Encourage managers to make video optional during meetings and reduce the number of mandatory calls per week.
- Conduct on-demand stretching, breathing, and yoga sessions for remote employees.
- Ask managers to reinforce the importance of mental health and work-life balance by publicly announcing they’re taking a mental health day or time off to care for family, instead of simply saying they’re “out of office.”
5. Offer Paid Leave During Covid-19
To encourage sick employees to stay home and prevent the spread of Covid-19 in your office, offer incentives like paid leave for employees who’ve tested positive, show symptoms, have been in close contact with a Covid-19 patient, or have to care for their family.
Apart from increasing paid time off, some companies are also offering “vaccine time off” for employees to get the Covid-19 vaccination and recover from any side effects.
6. Research the Legal Requirements of Hybrid Work
Learn about the legal requirements of hybrid or remote work in your state or city, and mention how you’ll fulfill them in your hybrid work policy.
Ask your attorney about hybrid work-related laws in your state and city. Here are some questions to get you started:
- Where is your business legally allowed to operate? This might affect where employees can work remotely.
- Do you need to reimburse employees for home office equipment? In states like California, laws require employers to reimburse employees for office equipment like computers, laptops, and desks. Discussions in our Slack community, Hybrid Heroes, show stipends for home offices range from $250 to $300 per employee.
- Do you need to reimburse employees for office travel? While daily commutes are not reimbursable, for employees who work primarily from home, travel to the office can be reimbursed under some circumstances.
- Do you need to pay overtime? Laws require employers to pay overtime if employees work for more than 40 hours in a week, or in some states, more than 8 hours a day. If such laws apply in your state, you might need to discuss how you’ll track time and if employees require manager approval to work extra hours.
7. Set Up Information Security Measures for Remote Workers
In your office, you have security measures like firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), on-premise servers and data centers, antivirus software, and authorized company equipment. While you can replicate most of these measures in a remote setting, your employees might need guidance to stay in compliance with data security measures.
When drafting your hybrid workplace policy, outline best practices for employees to keep your data safe, like:
- Set strong passwords and update them regularly.
- Install security and software updates on a regular basis.
- Avoid downloading suspicious, illegal, or unauthorized software.
- Block unauthorized or suspicious websites.
- Install antivirus software and firewall protection.
- Secure computers with private and confidential information.
- Report any loss of equipment or information to your manager immediately.
- Connect to a VPN when accessing select websites.
8. Create Communication Guidelines
In a hybrid work environment, clear communication guidelines help you avoid communication silos between in-office and remote employees.
For hybrid teams, defaulting to remote-first communication — that is, online communication — works best because it's equally accessible to in-office and remote employees.
In your hybrid workplace policy, specify the:
- Channels or tools of communication for meetings, quick messages, updates, stand-ups, announcements, and reports.
- Expected response time for internal emails, client emails, and Slack messages.
- Internal knowledge base tools for looking up company-related information, processes, and policies.
- People to ask for common work-related issues.
9. Track Employee Performance
In a traditional work environment, time spent in the office often served as a way to track employee performance. In a hybrid workplace, employees need different parameters for showcasing their performance and work output.
Explain what success looks like for employees in different departments. For instance, “Success as a sales manager means contacting X leads per quarter and $XX in revenue.”
10. Foster Equity Between Remote and In-office Employees
Managers in a hybrid workplace might have proximity bias, or the tendency to favor in-office employees and ignore those who are remote. Remote employees might also miss out on important work-related discussions and decisions if they happen in ad hoc meetings or in the hallway.
To reassure employees of equal opportunities, irrespective of work preference, list the measures you’ll take to achieve equitability. Best practices for hybrid teams include:
- Measuring speed of promotion by employees’ work preference to avoid bias in employee promotions.
- Announcing new work opportunities and challenges in public channels like Slack instead of in-person meetings.
- Holding virtual ask-me-anything sessions with leadership, where employees can voice concerns.
- Running anonymous employee surveys to gauge employee sentiments.
- Making hybrid meetings the norm, so employees can participate regardless of location.
Your Free Hybrid Workplace Policy Template
Here’s a quick hybrid workplace policy template that incorporates all important considerations for hybrid work. We’ve provided a few examples, but feel free to tweak them as per your company’s policies.
Beginning [Date], [Company] will begin a hybrid work model. All employees are eligible for hybrid work, and their schedule must be cleared with their manager and fit within one of the models described below. Please read the entire policy and sign to confirm you have read it. Contact [name and email of contact person] if you have any questions.
Hybrid Work Schedule
Options for hybrid schedules are limited by department, and you have flexibility within that model. Contact your direct supervisor with questions.
All departments should schedule office space for in-office days with Officely.
Employees working in office more than 3 days a week will have a dedicated office/desk, parking space, and access to the company gym/childcare services.
Equipment and Software
For all employees, the company will provide:
Employees working remotely 4-5 days a week will also be provided with internet stipends and access to a VPN.
Compensation and Benefits
Employees relocating to another state or city will receive salaries according to the cost of living in their location. Check out the salary calculator here [insert link].
Employees will also receive the following additional stipends:
- Gym memberships/related health membership
- Virtual health consults
- Virtual mental health counseling
- [Add more benefits here]
Communication Tools and Guidelines
Use the following tools for communication:
- Email — Weekly updates, updates for clients, delivery of material to clients
- Slack — Team-wide communication, client groups (if requested), quick announcements
- Tettra — Company information, process, and documentation
- Lattice — Public praise, team-wide goals, and OKRs
- Zoom — Meetings, presentations, stand-ups
Use public channels of communication if you think it will benefit everyone. Be respectful of others’ time and show up punctually for meetings. Default to hybrid meetings always.
Commitment to Equal Opportunities
We’re committed to providing a similar experience to remote and in-office employees. To ensure everyone has equal access to opportunities, managers must:
- Use public channels to announce new work opportunities and projects
- Review how often employees are promoted with respect to their work preferences
Successfully Transition to Hybrid Work With Our Free Checklist
Employee preference, logistics, policies, and legal compliance — our hybrid work checklist covers it all, so you can successfully transition your company to hybrid work.