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Hybrid working policy – What should it include?
15th Feb 2022
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Hybrid working policy – What should it include? - Linkilaw Solicitors
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Hybrid working is a flexible working model allowing employees to split their working time between the office or workplace and another location, usually the employee’s home.

With the current lifting of restrictions in the UK, employers are considering their options: to return to the office, transition into full-time remote working or implement hybrid working arrangements.

According to new research by Microsoft in conjunction with YouGov, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed hybrid working from “nice to have” to “must-have” with 51% of UK workers who currently have the choice to mix remote and office working considering leaving their company if this hybrid option was removed.

Hybrid working has proven its benefits for employees and employers by improving work-life balance, productivity and retention rates. However, having a clear hybrid policy and making any necessary changes to employment contracts is crucial to managing expectations about what is and what is not possible, and to mitigate the risk of complaints or claims.

This article explains why you should create or update your policies to adapt to your current working model and what a hybrid working policy should include.

Why is a company policy important?

Company policy documents are used to outline the internal company rules and workplace practices for persons working within and with the company (usually inclusive of independent contractors).

Why do a business need policy and procedure documents?

  • Having the correct policy documentation in place and adequate information circulation amongst employees about its uses is an extremely useful foundation for defending against future claims from employees (e.g., unfair dismissal claims, discrimination claims).
  • Documentation sets out a clear standard for employee workplace practice.
  • Documents can inform employees about what they need to do and who to report to in various situations.
  • Policy and procedure documents assist in ensuring compliance with the law.
  • They serve as a training tool for staff.

Legal considerations of homeworking and hybrid working arrangements

Employers need to address a range of legal and practical issues when applying hybrid working arrangements, including:

  • Considering the need to tailor standard employment contract clauses to encompass homeworking or hybrid working.
  • Introducing new policies and reviewing existing policies to set out the arrangements and conditions for homeworking or hybrid working.
  • Taking appropriate measures to protect confidential information and personal data.
  • Reviewing the health and safety implications of the arrangements, including carrying out a risk assessment.
  • Considering whether any special planning or insurance arrangements are required.
  • Deciding what arrangements should be made to manage and supervise certain types of homeworkers and hybrid workers.
  • Identifying the tax consequences of homeworking and hybrid working.

hybrid working policy

What should a hybrid working policy include?

This policy allows for hybrid working arrangements to apply on a discretionary basis, without requiring a formal statutory flexible working request to be made if agreed with the employer.

While the policy is intended to operate on a non-contractual and discretionary basis, employers should be aware of the possibility that the hybrid working arrangement may, depending on its nature and duration, become an implied term of the employment contract.

Some of the key elements to include in a hybrid working policy are:

  • Eligibility: Those employees or consultants who don’t require a traditional office or space to interact with internal and external customers; who have access to required systems and software associated with the position responsibilities; and have remote access to files.
  • The separation between office and other locations’ time: Employers must decide whether there will be a minimum expected attendance at the workplace, for example, two days per week in the workplace and three days worked from home and whether these are set days or more flexible. It is also crucial to establish when the employee will be available for work purposes. The expectations must be clear to both parties.
  • Specific circumstances to attend the office: The employer will typically want to require the employee to attend the workplace from time to time, for example, for client meetings, training, team meetings, appraisals and disciplinary issues. This should be included in the contract.
  • Data protection requirements: Homeworkers and hybrid workers may need specific training on their obligations and those of the employer concerning data protection and confidentiality. This would include the procedures they must follow and what is, and is not, an authorised use of data. Employers should also carry out a data privacy impact assessment of the data protection implications of employees working from home.
  • Equipment and IT specifications: Decide whether special equipment should be provided.
  • Health and safety procedures.
  • Limitations on remote locations due to immigration, tax and insurance matters.

How could we help?

At Linkilaw Solicitors, internal policy and procedure documentation packs are some of the numerous services for growing businesses. If you have any concerns over what is required and ideal for your business, please contact our legal team by booking a call.

Our team of experienced legal professionals are here to help you in every phase of your business journey.

Our legal commentary is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in law and practice. Please seek legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.

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