Consulting and preparing to introduce hybrid working

If you're considering hybrid working, you should consult your employees and their representatives (for example, a recognised trade union).

Consulting is when you ask for input on any potential changes. It can help you to:

  • increase trust and engage employees
  • find and solve problems
  • prepare managers for any conflict
  • work together to agree any changes

You should consult when you are:

  • considering whether to introduce hybrid working
  • creating a hybrid working policy
  • reviewing hybrid working arrangements

In some cases, by law you must negotiate and consult to reach an agreement.

How to consult

You should:

  1. explain what you are considering changing and why
  2. invite employees to suggest ideas and talk about their concerns
  3. listen to their concerns and consider their ideas
  4. do everything you can to resolve any concerns

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has given people experience of working in lots of different ways. Consulting can help you gather and use those experiences when considering hybrid working.

For example, you could survey staff that worked from home during the COVID-19 lockdown on what worked and what did not.

When you must consult

It might say that you must consult about any organisational changes in:

  • an employee's contract
  • a policy

You may also have to consult employee representatives (for example, a recognised trade union) if any of the following is true:

  • the changes affect health and safety
  • you have a collective agreement in place
  • you plan to change the contracts of 20 or more employees

If you have more than 50 staff, you might have a formal agreement to inform and consult them.

Changing an employment contract

If you agree to introduce hybrid working, you should check whether you'll need to make a change to employment contracts.

Things to check include:

  • where it says employees work
  • what hours employees work
  • how employees will be managed
For example, you might need to change an employee's contract if it says their workplace is a specific address. If it says that you can decide where they work, you might not need to change the contract

Find out more about changing an employment contract

If you do not need to change an employment contract

If you do not need to change a contract, you should agree any changes with staff and put in writing what's been agreed.

For example, an employee asks their manager about hybrid working to help them look after their children. They agree to a temporary change that will allow the employee to work from home 2 days a week for a period of 3 months. The employer confirms this in an email.
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