How to Define Policies and Succeed When Employing a Hybrid Workforce

HR outsourcing

Creating sound policies and procedures is a huge challenge for any employer. Despite the challenge, well-written policies are the cornerstone of any organization. They ensure employees know their roles and understand the resources available to them, and they ensure there is an acceptable method for addressing grievances. With HR outsourcing, you have the ability to put processes in place to manage your hybrid workforce successfully.

While moving to a remote or hybrid workforce was a lifesaver for many companies, defining policies definitely poses a challenge. However, the following tips can help you develop policies supporting employees in a hybrid workforce.

  • Define hybrid eligibility: A hybrid workforce can take many forms depending on the company’s needs. Some companies have only certain roles that are hybrid, while others allow all employees to adopt a hybrid schedule in which they spend part of their time in the physical workplace, and part of their work is done remotely. One of the biggest grievances many employees in hybrid workforces have been the perception that hybrid work policies are being applied unfairly. Yet, the reality is that many employers cannot successfully employ hybrid schedules for all employees equally. For instance, many manufacturing jobs are impossible to complete remotely, while the accountants at these organizations can likely complete the majority of their tasks remotely. The best way to prevent grievances or workplace resentment is to create policies explicitly defining which roles are eligible for remote or hybrid schedules. These policies should only refer to the roles rather than specific individuals, ensuring they will still be valid if you have turnover. In addition to defining which roles are eligible for remote work, you should also include a section that discusses what roles are not eligible for remote work. Seeing these policies in writing can help employees understand the rationale behind hybrid scheduling decisions. And it can protect the employer from grievances where employees feel they may be singled out and treated unfairly. With your HR outsourcing, you can create a process for addressing these issues in a way that works for your company and employees.
  • Define the duties and expectations for remote and hybrid employees: Prior to the pandemic, there was a widespread – and inaccurate – assumption that remote employees were not as productive as their in-person counterparts. This assumption has been proven false, and in fact, many remote workers have shown to be more productive than they were when physically going to the workplace. But there are still lingering perceptions that these employees may ‘get away’ with more than others. Therefore, developing sound expectations for remote employees is a good idea, as you would with in-person employees. This means that you should include expectations for remote employees related to the following:
    • Expected hours worked, including a defined start and finish time and allocated time for meals and breaks.
    • How overtime is approved and documented.
    • Expectations for checking in with supervisors and delivering work to team members. This should include scheduling one-on-one meetings with remote employees as a manager would for in-person staff members.
    • Identifying which meetings or events the remote worker should attend and whether they are expected to be there in-person or remotely.
  • Discuss the use of acceptable technology and the equipment provided to remote and/or hybrid employees. Remote and hybrid workers often have to deploy more technological solutions to ensure they get their work done, share it with team members, and maintain an acceptable level of digital security. However, the line between what an employee is expected to provide versus what an employer should provide may not always be clear. For instance, some employers pay internet access charges, while others do not. And while there is no right or wrong policy, you should ensure it is clearly defined so there are no questions about whose responsibility it is to cover this necessity. It is also important to work with an HR specialist to ensure compliance with state regulations. Some states, such as California, require technology reimbursement for hybrid and work-from-home positions. These reimbursements must be “fair” and cover all business-related expenses made by those working from home. Additionally, security factors must be considered. Do your employees need a VPN or any other specialized security equipment? In that case, you must have policies about the use of these features in a way that ensures a company’s data is protected. It’s not just your data on the line; with many cyber-attacks, criminals can hijack the data of employees and customers, which can be a huge and costly problem for any company. But clear policies surrounding acceptable security processes are a great way to get all employees – even remote ones – on the same page in terms of acceptable strategies to minimize the risk of a cyber-attack. HR outsourcing gives you access to experts who can assist you in drafting these policies and putting processes into place.

Remote and hybrid workforces are becoming more common but present new challenges for employers. HR outsourcing can be a great way to receive guidance on developing sound policies and ensuring your hybrid workforce has the tools necessary to succeed.

CA HR Services specializes in working with small and medium-sized companies to help develop legal, efficient, and appropriate HR processes and procedures that meet state and federal labor law requirements.