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Does my business need a hybrid working policy?

The pandemic has changed attitudes towards different ways of working.  These days, employees are demanding more flexibility and hybrid working is seen by many as a key benefit when deciding to accept or leave a role.  Hybrid working can help make your business stand out from competitors, retain staff and have control over your workforce.

We look at what you need to consider:

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working is a type of flexible working arrangement whereby an employee splits their time between working from the office and working remotely, usually from home.

Considerations

A survey conducted by YouGov found that 55% of employers in Great Britain expected an increase in staff working remotely.  Similarly, a survey carried out by Work After Lockdown showed that 73% of employees wanted to adopt a hybrid working arrangement. Implementing a hybrid working policy can be beneficial for businesses and employees and can assist with staff retention, attracting new talent and developing your business culture and brand.

It is important that the policy is tailored to your business needs.  Ask yourself the following:

  1. Formal or informal arrangement?

The policy should clearly set out if the hybrid working arrangement is intended to be a formal and permanent change to existing terms of employments or an informal arrangement that can be altered by the business if needs change.

Formal changes will require amending employment contracts and a risk of being in breach of contract if not adhered to, whereas an informal arrangement allows for flexibility.

  1. Who can make a request?

The policy needs to state who can make a hybrid working request and whether this is an option open to all employees or only to a reduced group.

  1. Responding to requests

The business should introduce a process for responding to requests. The policy should set out who will consider each request, whether this will be decided by managers and the criteria for making a decision.

Applying a blanket policy can be discriminatory, particularly if there are vulnerable employees or employees who childcare responsibilities.

  1. Location only?

A hybrid working arrangement does not need to be limited to location only. For example, an employee could request a change to their working pattern or hours. The business will need to decide if the policy allows changes to working hours or is limited to location.

  1. Data protection and confidentiality

The business should carry out a risk assessment to ensure compliance with GDPR. Here are some of the questions the risk assessment will need to answer: is the employee sharing the room with someone else whilst working? Do they live by themselves or with others? Do they have a secured password protected internet connection? Will the computer be locked when they leave the room? How will sensitive data be handled?

  1. Equipment

The policy should include the equipment that will be provided to the employee to perform their role and what would happen if the equipment is damaged whilst at home.

How we can help

Solicitor Laura Ramos is highly experienced and part of Wards Solicitors’ specialist employment team.  She deals with Employment Tribunal claims and provides HR support to businesses.

If you want to adopt a hybrid working policy that meets your business needs or for any other employment matters, please get in touch by phone on 0117 929 2811or email at Laura.Ramos@wards.uk.com.

 

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