Leadership

Hybrid Work Policy: What is it, What to include, Examples

38% of employees struggle knowing when or why to go to the office. Solve it with a hybrid work policy. Examples included.

Welcome to
Future Work

Every week, I scan the news for must-know stories about the employee-centric, happier, distributed, and AI-driven future of work.

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Thank goodness!

Gone are the days of spending 40 hours a week in the office.

According to remote work statistics, hybrid remote work – which combines work from home, work from the office, and potential ‘third places’ – is now most companies' default way of working.

And the good news doesn’t stop there.

Offering hybrid work to your team means getting a ton of benefits.

A 2023 Stanford remote study showed that hybrid work significantly improves employee engagement and retention.

Reasons for a  hybrid work policy

From startups to leading innovators and Fortune 500 companies, in 2023, most have formalized a “hybrid work policy.”

Why the need for a policy?

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of policies. But I learned the hard way what happens when you don’t create fair rules for everyone to engage with.

Because, well, we are human. And humans hate uncertainty.

Being clear about what’s asked of us is crucial. 

For example, when we should be in the office. Which hours we should be responsive. And which channels we should monitor after hours.

Knowing helps reduce anxiety and avoid pesky side effects of remote work, like toxic productivity.

The hybrid working policy is therefore here to clarify what you can expect from your team and vice versa, and shares how your hybrid work schedule works in deep detail.

This may sound obvious, but apparently, it’s not.

2022 Microsoft research shows that 38% of employees say their greatest hybrid challenge is knowing when or why to come into the office

In other words, clear hybrid policies that are well-communicated are important.

What is a hybrid working policy? What’s in it?

A good hybrid work policy clearly documents the expectations between the company, yourself, and your team.

A good hybrid work policy clearly documents the expectations between the company, yourself, and your team about how to work together in this digital and hybrid world.

It includes:

  • When and how often people should come to the office
  • How people are expected to engage with each other, you as their manager, and the company
  • To ensure collaboration and communication don’t suffer, when we are expected to work
  • Any opportunities for asynchronous work, where people choose their own time.
    Note: according to 2023 FlexOS research, one in two employees want more flexibility in when to work.
  • How productivity is measured. Are there any milestones and OKRs that help keep everyone on track and measure progress?
  • How the home office is organized. Are there any new benefits, like stipends for internet or home office setups?
  • How exceptions to the policy are handled. Where and how to people apply for them?

As you can see, the hybrid work policy doesn't have to be like a typical “HR Policy.” 

Instead, see it as a way to capture the understanding between you and your team about how to work together in this digital and hybrid world.

Tips for Successful hybrid work policies

If you’re gearing up to create your hybrid work policy, I recommend to:

1. Get the team involved

Involving your team in writing your hybrid work policy is a great best practice.

I had a discussion with our team to decide what would work best for all of us. It turned out they actually were more interested in office days than I expected. 

But it also made me realize that we needed to ensure those days were highly intentional and worth commuting to the office for. 

Having these conversations before cementing the policy was priceless. 

2. Communicate Clearly

Communication is the unsung hero of successful hybrid work policies. 

If your team isn't crystal clear on the hows and whys of your hybrid approach, you might be missing out and creating new challenges.

In a survey by EY, a whopping 79% of companies are developing hybrid work models, but only 40% are communicating it clearly to their teams. 

Clarity is Key:

When communicating hybrid work policies, cut through the jargon. 

Use clear, straightforward language that everyone can understand. 

Avoid corporate speak and provide real-world examples to illustrate key points. Ensure your team knows the hybrid game plan's who, what, when, where, and why.

Two-Way Street:

Communication is a dialogue, not a monologue. 

Don’t send the policy and never speak of it. Instead, I highly recommend encouraging questions, hosting Q&A sessions, and being open to feedback. 

A two-way conversation means everyone can be on the same page and understands the nuances of the hybrid work policy. This creates a sense of transparency and inclusivity.

Accessible Platforms:

Choose communication channels that resonate with your team. 

Whether it's a dedicated employee intranet, wiki or Notion, regular email updates, or even lively town hall meetings, ensure that information is easily accessible. 

Remember, the more accessible your communication, the more likely it is to be absorbed and understood by your teams.

We have the key highlights of our policy on a Notion page, which links to a detailed PDF with the whole policy. 

3. Measure, Learn And Optimize

Even the best hybrid work policies will be nothing more than the best hypothesis we can make now.

Because, the world of work will keep changing.

Measure the effectiveness of your hybrid policy, test adjustments and variations, and evolve the guidelines over time.

Investing in acquiring and frequently reviewing this data will be critical, in line with the move towards more data-driven HR functions and people operations. 

Free hybrid work policy template

Need help getting started? We've got you! Download our free hybrid work policy template below:

Download this template today.

It's free, yet priceless.

Examples of Hybrid Working Policies

  • Spotify was one of the earliest to communicate a clear hybrid policy for their “Work from Anywhere” model.

    Spotify’s work from anywhere policy allows employees to choose where to live and whether to work mostly from home, the office, or a coworking space.

    For remote workers, Spotify ensures that “your home working space meets the needs of your role and offer you the  same or similar equipment you’d enjoy at the office.”

  • HubSpotters can select the work option that's best for them once per calendar year: @office (dedicated desk in the office where you come in one or more days per week) @home (visiting a HubSpot office  only once times per quarter. HubSpot supports the work-from-home setup), or @flex (flexible desk in a HubSpot office for ù or fewer days per week with support for a work-from-home setup.)

  • SAP created the “Pledge to Flex,” a “Flexible and Trust Based” way of working that offers flexibility in the workplace and working schedule.

    It redesigned its offices, focusing on “employee engagement, environment, and education.” Employees can now find an activity-based workspace with free seating to maximize team collaboration and social interaction. 

Need more inspiration?

Scoop has put together the Flex Index, a fantastic resource in which you can find the hybrid work policies for thousands of companies.

I highly recommend browsing the database for more references and best practices in your industry or geography. 

Eligibility of the hybrid work policy

Eligibility is an important topic when we’re discussing hybrid work policies. 

Especially for larger teams and companies, not every element of your hybrid work policy will work for everyone. 

Avoid debates by clearly stating position and employee eligibility.

Position Eligibility:

Deciding if a role aligns with the hybrid model requires careful consideration. 

Can they maintain optimal performance remotely? Factors like the job nature, departmental goals, and collaborative needs come into play. 

Certain roles may sync well with hybrid arrangements, but roles heavily reliant on face-to-face interactions or access to onsite confidential materials won’t suit too many remote days. 

Employee Eligibility:

Once a role is identified as eligible, the focus shifts to the individual holding that position. 

Do they resonate with the responsibilities? Assessments should include a clear understanding of the role, their ability to work independently, and effective stakeholder collaboration. 

Key indicators include past performance evaluations, consistent task completion, and strong communication skills. 

Approvals of the hybrid work policy

The same goes for approvals to work outside the policy, like an extra work-from-home day or a different timezone. 

What are the rules?

How do people request and apply for exceptions?

Ensure you document the process with direct links to where people submit their requests. 

Conclusion

Hybrid remote work is the new norm for most companies, offering many benefits such as increased employee engagement and retention. 

And hey, while we may not like the term ‘policy,’ clarity is key for a positive work environment.

So, I suggest putting together or updating a hybrid working policy. 

The policy acts like a roadmap that captures the understanding between you, your company, and your team about navigating this new way of working together.

It details when and how often people should show up at the office, how they engage with each other, when they're expected to work, and how productivity is measured.

I hope the information above helps in developing your own hybrid work policy. 

If you need a bit more help, we have a Hybrid Working Policy template to kickstart your journey toward a successful hybrid remote team:

Download this template today.

It's free, yet priceless.

And as always, we’re happy to support with more detailed questions: contact us here.

Welcome to
Future Work

Every week, I scan the news for must-know stories about the employee-centric, happier, distributed, and AI-driven future of work.

Not a member yet? Join over 10,000 people-centric managers and subscribe here.

Rather listen? The spoken version will be available tomorrow on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

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