Are you thinking about hybrid working? Maybe your team are already working between office and home and you are very smartly ensuring there is a policy in place. See, I do listen to Katherine – sometimes.
When creating a hybrid working policy you need to go right back to the basics and ensure the policy is truly inclusive rather than another one size fits all policy.
The problem with writing policies is that they define structure, set out the steps to ensure everyone is doing the same thing and limit the chance of things going wrong. But especially now post-pandemic, companies are realising that true flexibility is a benefit that employees really do appreciate and seek.
A hybrid working policy will normally focus only on location – office or home/remote location where a truly flexibly or inclusive policy will focus on how, when and where someone works.
If an employee is told that they must work from home 3 days a week when really they don’t have a suitable set up then it isn’t flexible.
If someone is told their office day must be a Monday instead of the usual Tuesday which worked round family responsibilities, then that isn’t family friendly.
True flexibility is different for each person and will mean different things, changing hours, flexible locations, fully remote working etc.
The challenge will be balancing personal needs with organisational needs.
Management involvement requires flexibility and communication, team members should be trusted and treated as individuals rather than imposing options.
You also need to involve the team to understand employee needs and to understand what impact a company wide policy could have.
HR and management need to support line managers to ensure they are confident and comfortable understanding the needs of the organisation whilst actually supporting their team and being truly flexible.
Finally, whilst it is recommended to regularly review policies and documents nowhere is it more important than when implementing a hybrid/flexible working policy. As circumstances change employees need to feel able to discuss with their manager and make ongoing adjustments.
The last 2 years have been chaotic but hopefully true flexibility is becoming a real life benefit for employees rather than an aspirational feature listed on a job advert merely to attract applications.