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How to Implement an Effective Hybrid Work Policy

By Jori Hamilton

Hybrid Work Policy

Image source Unsplash

October 10 2021 - When the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores, it forced many businesses to transition their workforce from an in-house model to a remote setup. Now that vaccines are available and we are seeing a return to normalcy, many businesses are in the process of bringing everyone back. However, there is a middle area, and it is the hybrid work policy.

Essentially, this setup allows employees to arrange their week with days split between working in the office and working at home. This arrangement has its benefits, but in order for it to be successful, it needs to be properly planned and implemented. Letís talk a bit more about a hybrid environment and how to set your organization up for success.

Benefits of a Hybrid Work Policy

While the idea of a hybrid work environment isnít new, it has become more common since the pandemic changed the lives of employees across the nation. When many companies were forced to transition to a remote workforce to survive, they started to realize that there were many benefits to such an arrangement. For one, it provided the work/life balance that many employees craved, especially those who also care for children during the work day. The lack of a daily commute alone gave people more time to spend with their families, and employees really appreciate that.

When employees are grateful for their job and the opportunities they are given, they also work harder. According to some studies, productivity across many businesses has gone up substantially since employees have been given the chance to work remotely. There has also been a noticeable reduction in absenteeism since employees donít have to worry about infecting co-workers from home and they can easily go to doctor visits and pick their children up from school without calling out of work.

Of course, not all jobs can be completed exclusively from home. Many management and sales positions require face-to-face interaction with their clients, employees, and customers, and that is where the in-office portion of the hybrid model comes into play. It is the best of both worlds, but management cannot just announce a hybrid policy and hope for the best. Instead, an expansive strategy of expectations and employer assistance must first be implemented before the hybrid model can truly be successful.

Set Expectations

While some businesses may be a bit more relaxed on their policies and will let employees come and go as they please, the best way to maintain order is to set expectations. The first step is to work with the employee to plan and solidify their working schedule, so human resources and management know which days of the week the employees will be in the office or working from home. The schedule they choose must be put in writing and both management and HR must be part of the decision, so the worker is always where they need to be when duty calls.

It is also important for management to set expectations for regular employee-manager check-ins. Communication is key when workers are away from the office because management may need to monitor the work duties of their employees and provide deadlines when necessary. Management should set how that communication should occur, be it over email, call, or instant message, and the manager should dictate the frequency of these check-ins. Managers should also set up one-on-one meetings to provide feedback and give details on upcoming tasks.

Expectations should also be put in place for how employees should conduct themselves when they are working remotely. These expectations should include when they should be at their desks, how they should answer their phones, and guidelines for maintaining professionalism while on video calls. In addition to being on time and well dressed (at least from the waist up), employers should encourage their staff to have a professional background that is clean and not too distracting. To be safe, go for a white or neutral-colored background and sit facing a window so you can be seen with natural light.

Set Employees Up For Success

Once your company decides to commit to the hybrid model, it is important to make sure the employees have the same tech, tools, and ability to complete their work at home as they do in the office. Management and HR need to work with the IT team to ensure that remote employees have fast and efficient internet, access to all essential programs, and the ability to reach out immediately when they need assistance.

Just like in the office, remote employees should also be provided with an adequate office and desk setup that includes a headset for completing calls, a reliable phone, mobile if necessary, and a computer that affords them the ability to complete all necessary tasks. In many cases, the employees may already have these tools, but your company needs to ensure that they work properly and efficiently. An important part of efficiency is a proper chair that provides solid back support, so their employees are not in pain or feel the tendency to slouch. If necessary, proper seating should be purchased by the company and sent to the worker.

Human resources can also provide helpful guidance for employees that are still getting used to the routine of a hybrid work arrangement. Literature should be provided regarding how to deal with stress when working alone along with a list of resources should they feel the effects of anxiety.

Management can even provide guidance on how to deal with pets on the days that your staff is required to work from the office. For example, if an employee has a dog that is especially dependent on their presence, management can provide helpful independence exercises or recommend local doggy daycare establishments. By showing that you care about what your employees care about, your employees will appreciate you as a manager and the company they work for, and they will show that gratitude in their work.

A hybrid work policy can be a great tool for businesses that donít require their employees to be present five days a week. Consider the benefits and work out an effective policy, and you can have this new system in place in no time.

About the author

Jori Hamilton

Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, recruitment, HR, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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