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Hybrid work is at its highest adoption rate at 38% of the people Microsoft surveyed recently in their Work Trend Index Report. Furthermore, 53% of the people responded that they will consider adopting hybrid work within a year. Easier said than done! Building a quality hybrid work policy that is well communicated ensures better adoption and satisfaction by employees.

38% of hybrid employees say their biggest challenge with hybrid work is knowing when and why to come into the office. At the same time, only 28% of leaders have created a hybrid work policy or guidelines to define why and when to go to the office.

In this post, we will compile a hybrid work policy together based on our experience working with hundreds of companies.

  1. What is a hybrid work policy?
  2. Who should create and own the hybrid work policy?
  3. What to include in the policy?
  4. How to promote it and ensure high adoption?
  5. Further reading and considerations

What is aΒ hybrid work policy?

Simply put, a hybrid work policy outlines where, how, and when employees should work in the office or remotely. On the surface, it sounds like a very straightforward and easy policy! When we look deeper though, it becomes clear how sensitive this topic is today, after 2 years of working almost completely remote. Then the different teams each have different working requirements, preferences, and expectations about their schedules. It can get messy easily.

Your policy should outline your expectations and responsibilities for your hybrid workforce, and layout a set of guidelines for hybrid workplace operations. That includes any requirements, processes, and best practices for employees to follow to determine their work hybrid schedule inter-team and cross-team coordination.

The process of building the policy should be inclusive, collaborative, and designed with input from diverse employees. Many companies are adopting a fully flexible, loose policy where employees and teams can build their schedules themselves. Others are building stricter policy, which outlines set rules like specific office days or the number of days in the office. Usually, stricter policies will also incorporate more details and information about the different teams and roles and emphasizes the role of in-person collaboration.

Last but not least, specificity and clear communication are essential as you build and roll out your hybrid work guidelines.

Who should create and own the hybrid work policy?

The hybrid work policy is usually owned, built, communicated, and maintained by the Human Capital (HC/HR) department. There are many different roles and departments that are involved too, like Facilities and Office management, IT, as well as various management and leadership positions.

  • HR – the owners of the hybrid work guidelines. Usually, the human capital department will work with all stakeholders to create, communicate and update the policy.
  • Office & Facilities – the enablers of hybrid work. The facilities department has a very important role in enabling hybrid work by ensuring the offices are suitable for it. For example, they will be responsible for setting up hot desks, phone booths, collaboration, and other spaces that are key to the success of flexible working.
  • IT – the supporters of the hybrid work. Hybrid working requires the full attention and support of the IT department. They will help set up different neighborhoods in the office with different IT equipment like Monitors. Of course, they will also ensure that the company information is secured and the company is fully compliant with the practices it should follow.
  • Management/Leadership – the drivers. Hybrid work is not possible without the full and complete support of the company leadership. The leadership team is the bus driver, and they should feel this is the right direction of travel. Without their support, hybrid working will be tough. Learn how the leaders of the largest organizations are adopting hybrid work.
  • Employees – the adopters. None of these matter if the employees don’t recognize and adopt the processes, tools, and guidelines written in the policy. The employees are the key asset of every organization. We want to give them enough flexibility and means to collaborate, grow and learn from the experience of others. They are the key stakeholders for the success of your hybrid work policy.

What to include in the policy?

As discussed, the hybrid work policy should be co-created with your key stakeholders – your employees. Then it should answer any questions and clearly communicate all working guidelines. In a nutshell, it should answer the question – ‘How do we work?’. This may include detailed schedules or guidelines for scheduling. Eventually, it may also include an approvals process to establish and enforce the rules in stricter policies.Β 

The following is the list of questions that can guide you in what to include in the policy. Following the Golden Circle by Simon Sinek, we will start with the Why, then the How, and end with the What:

  • The Golden CircleWhy go hybrid? For employees to follow a new (hybrid) work policy, they need to understand why we’re doing it. As the most fundamental question, it is also the most important one. If we co-created it in partnership with your teams, this part should be very easy. We do it for our employees! Other than that,Β  do it because we will save a lot of time, as well as real estate costs. Ultimately it should be good for the business as well. Read more about “Why go hybrid” here.
  • How do we go hybrid? Your policy should be very specific about how you will do it. Be specific about the tools and infrastructure that will be used, as well as all the supporting materials, solutions and communication schedules.
  • What is our hybrid work policy? Let’s dig into some more important questions:
    • Who is it for? Are all employees able to work on a hybrid schedule? Or is it only for employees in specific geographies, areas of the business, or teams? Is it based on seniority or longevity at the company? Does it require managerial approval or is it based on personal situations? Be sure to make this clear so employees know whether they qualify. More importantly, make it logical and easy to explain why this is the case.
    • When should employees be in an office? You can either create a clear schedule for every day of the week and for every team (which is very difficult and we will advise against it) or you should create a logic that employees can easily follow. Many organizations specify something like 2 days a week or 5 days a month and let your employees/teams decide. Others might have a day in the week when everyone is required in the office and a more flexible schedule on the other days. Others might prefer teams to develop strict schedules with their managers to know exactly who will be where at any given time.
    • What about flexible work hours? Do you have specific expectations from employees when they’re working remotely, as opposed to on-site? Since you’re accommodating a flexible schedule, the hours you may expect employees to work could shift. For example, if your teams are working in broad geographies and different timezones, you may create specific rules to start earlier or later depending on the time differences to maximize collaboration between locations.
    • Where can employees find the policy? Your hybrid work guidelines should be always available and easy to access. You may use something like Confluence, Sharepoint, or other internal site infrastructure.
    • What’s the future of the policy? Remember that you will never answer all questions with any policy. Aim to start small and expand as you learn more and adapt. Creating the perfect work environment is a means, not an end. You can also hold regular live meetings where folks can drop in and ask questions, suggest improvements and help create a better workplace.

How to promote it and ensure high adoption?

Always remember that hybrid work is a very big change for your employees, including the leaders and everyone involved. As with any other change, you can follow a thoughtful process that can ensure higher adoption and better results. The general rule of change management suggests that the following 8 steps can help make it seamless:

  1. Establish a sense of urgency – for example, “we need to adopt hybrid work because we want to spend more time together and emphasize our culture!”
  2. Create a guiding coalition – who’ll be your hybrid heroes to support the change and help with the adoption?
  3. Develop a vision and strategy – your hybrid work policy should be the cornerstone content of your hybrid work vision.
  4. Communicate the change vision – communicate using all possible channels – all-hands meetings, emails, slack, etc. Get ready to communicate it a hundred times to increase high adoption.
  5. Empower employees for broad-based action – get everyone involved in the process to win their support!
  6. Generating short-term wins – find and present positive outcomes quickly after adopting the new policy. This can emphasize the benefits and generate more excitement.
  7. Consolidate gains and produce more change – use proper analytics and reporting to expose the outcomes of hybrid work and the benefits you see to further promote flexible work to all stakeholders, including your leadership.
  8. Anchor new approaches in the culture – as noted, finding the most optimal way of working is a never-ending process. Promote a culture of change and be ready to modify and adapt the policy to the changing environment.

You can learn more by watching this short video called ‘Our iceberg is melting‘! I’m sure you will love it.

Further reading and considerations

Trust is the foundation of hybrid and flexible work! You have to trust your employees and teams that they will get their job doneβ€”and trust that they know the best way to do it. A hybrid work policy allows you to set guidelines, create clarity, and empower people to build schedules that work for them. As a result of it,Β  you will see better engagement, more productive employees, and a flexible work culture that thrives.

If you want to learn more, you can download our free “Guidelines and Policies for Optimizing your Hybrid Workplace” eBook!

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