For decades, Americans went to work and came home eight hours later. There was no such thing as a hybrid work policy. While some companies had salespeople and service personnel splitting time in the field, most employees worked in the office.

Then, the global work environment changed. With 70% of remote-capable employees working from home, remote work was suddenly necessary.

Based on a recent Gallup survey, almost 60% of employees prefer a hybrid work environment and the work-life balance it affords. The poll also found that over half of remote employees would look for a new job if required to work in an office full-time.

In short, remote work is here to stay. Businesses need to rethink their workplace culture to retain staff and help employees thrive.

If you’re struggling to adjust your company culture,  you can start to evaluate new hybrid operations. That process starts with creating a hybrid work policy.

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What is a hybrid work policy?

A hybrid work policy lays out the guidelines, technology, and security standards needed to establish a flexible work schedule for employees. A good hybrid work policy asks questions like:

  • Are certain roles or responsibilities achievable through remote work? 
  • Will employees be required to be in the office on certain weekly days? 
  • How will shared offices be maintained?

Although developing a hybrid work policy takes time, organizations need policies to attract and retain talent.

Employees are looking for increased flexibility in their work schedules to improve their life balance. In fact, many workers feel more creative and productive when working from home.

Deploying tools to support a hybrid work model can:

  • Improve culture and limit turnover
  • Reduce costs for renting or leasing office space
  • Lower facility expenditures for maintenance, utilities, and security

Establishing a hybrid work arrangement can positively impact both employers and employees. But who is responsible for starting the process?

Who is responsible for creating a hybrid work policy?

The creation of work policies often falls on Human Resources. Each employee should follow the HR team’s lead and share their input as well.

That said, cross-functional teams will have legal and financial concerns to address. The IT department will also need to ensure that your organization has the technology to support remote procedures.

It’s best to assemble a team of executives and employees to create a hybrid work policy that benefits both sides.

Man working at home in compliance with a hybrid work policy

What to include in a hybrid work policy

Designing a hybrid work policy should answer a few questions:

  • Are remote work, work from home, and work from anywhere interchangeable? 
  • Does hybrid mean a set number of days in the office? 
  • Can employees choose their work from home days?

Ensuring everyone has agreed to the same terms can reduce confusion when designing and using your hybrid work document.

These basic questions can help you get started, but a good hybrid work policy also addresses:

Context

Every company is different — and so are their respective cultures. As you introduce a new work policy, discuss how your existing culture will change. Explain which changes will improve your culture and which areas may be challenging.

Eligibility

Not every employee or job position may be eligible for remote work. Your policy should define the eligibility requirements for a hybrid work option.

Start by identifying the individuals responsible for determining eligibility. Will managers have the authority? Will they need input from executive leadership? Also, consider how tenure, experience, and performance impact eligibility.

​​For example, an employee may begin working remotely in a position where they’re eligible. Let’s say they end up getting promoted to a position that is no longer eligible. Will they need to forego their flexible work hours? Could this negatively impact career development across your entire organization?

Work schedules

A hybrid work policy should outline core work hours that employees need to be available.

For example, let’s say you want all employees to be available between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM. Some shared hours make scheduling meetings and interactions easier.

Maybe you’ll decide on one in-office day per week for each employee. Will you select one day that the whole company goes in for meetings? Or would you let each employee choose their day to save money on office space?

Technology

What tools and equipment do employees need to be productive?

Hybrid work from home policies should address technology, not just the company’s technical infrastructure. You’ll also need to consider the technology available at remote locations.

When remote work started, many companies relied on employee technology to connect to the office network and carve out a workspace at home. Some businesses provided large screen monitors and a computer. Others added a desk and chair to the equipment provided.

You may decide to let employees use their own equipment. Eliminating office space and supplies could help you save an average of $11,000 per employee.

If reimbursement is an option, that should be part of your policy.

Just remember: if you let employees use their own devices, security becomes even more crucial.

Remote and in-office workers collaborating due to a better hybrid work policy

Security

The company provides physical and virtual security when employees work in an office. Firewalls and anti-virus software are in place. Emails are monitored. Cybersecurity rests with the company.

With the shift to remote work, some of that responsibility will now fall on your employees. Before you allow your team to work outside of the office, you’ll need to ask yourself a few security questions:

  • Will employees need a local firewall or VPN software? 
  • Will multi-factor authentication be mandatory? 
  • Will password managers become a requirement?

Remote workers must understand and commit to security guidelines, but employers need to help too. You must be willing to provide the tools and guidelines necessary for securing each employee’s home office.

Hybrid workers need to understand the magnitude of cybersecurity threats. Any guidelines you provide need to stress the importance of VPN connections and password managers.

Communications

Without clear communication channels, a hybrid work model can be a challenge for both employees and executives. Whether you work the same hours or operate asynchronously, here are a few questions to consider when writing the communication portion of your guide:

  • Will there be a specific contact for employees having technical issues when working remotely? 
  • How should employees get assistance when technology fails?
  • What communication tools will be available?
  • If your company uses Zoom, does everyone know how it works? 
  • How will you train employees on remote work technology? 

Like in-office teams, remote teams should still complete an onboarding process that aims to address these questions.

Etiquette

Many companies have a code of conduct from before the pandemic, but virtual etiquette probably wasn’t part of that code.

For example, consider appearances. Will hybrid employees need to have a professional-looking background for video conferencing? What about a dress code?

Without an etiquette section in your hybrid remote work policy, employees could attend morning meetings in their pajamas with breakfast leftovers in the background. Are you comfortable with that?

Tips for creating a hybrid work policy

Hybrid work environments are the future of work. They’re not going away. How well your company adapts its culture depends on the policies you’ve written.

Here are a few tips to help you start the process.

1. Have a remote-first mindset

The hybrid work policy should not be an addendum tacked onto your current policy. It should instead embrace and explain the complexities of hybrid work.

Look at the process as a way to improve company-wide cybersecurity. View hybrid communication as an opportunity to find better collaborative tools.

Designing a new work policy is the basis for a shift in company culture — but only if you accept that hybrid work is not an afterthought.

2. Consider key performance indicators (KPIs)

Part of any work policy is performance evaluation. Employees need to know how their managers will evaluate their work. Here are a few questions to take into consideration:

  • Will you ask employees to track time
  • How will the data impact performance reviews?
  • How will productivity be calculated?

Subjective assessments can cause confusion and friction across your organization. Before you can manage employees effectively, you have to provide them with the criteria you use to gauge success.

One of the best ways to do this is by welcoming feedback from employees themselves.

3. Use employee input

Don’t assume that a cross-functional team adequately represents what hybrid employees want in a remote work agreement. You can hold focus groups or send out surveys asking for employee input.

For example, some employees may want compensation for commute time if they must work in the office daily. Other remote workers may want a childcare stipend.

When working remotely, let employees have a say in how you measure their productivity. This will help them gain empathy for the challenges you face. They’ll also better understand what’s expected of them.

How to optimize your hybrid work policy

Working remotely has improved work-life balance for many employees. Going back to the office full-time is not an option.

Hubstaff gives businesses the tools they need to embrace the hybrid workplace. Schedule a free demo today to see how Hubstaff’s productivity tools can support your hybrid work policies.