Policies for home and hybrid working

Creating or updating a policy

As an employer, you should create a policy for working from home or hybrid working. A policy can help you to consider requests and explain the process to your employees.

You should also:

  • update any related policies or procedures
  • regularly review your policies and check if they can be improved
  • consult your employees and their representatives
  • check whether you need to make changes to employment contracts

Many people have been temporarily working from home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. You might be considering making these arrangements more formal. A policy can help you do this.

What a policy is

A policy is a document that:

  • outlines how things work
  • sets flexible limits

This allows managers and employees to discuss and agree specific arrangements.

For example, Sal's employer has a hybrid working policy that says employees can usually work remotely up to 3 days per week. Sal wants to work from home 4 days a week.

Sal discusses it with their line manager who explains the policy. Their line manager agrees they can work from home every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. They both agree to review how it works.

Outlining how things work

You should explain how someone can request working from home or hybrid working, and how you will respond.

You should include in your policy how to introduce, set up and support an employee.

Setting flexible limits

A policy should say what types of working from home or hybrid working are available in your organisation.

It should also say how:

  • roles will be assessed
  • you will consider employee needs
  • decisions will be made
For example, an employer has a policy that says staff can work remotely. It allows flexibility – they can work from home or from a coworking space agreed with the employer. It says staff are not allowed to work in public places, and explains this is for security reasons.

Review and consultation

You might need to review things because of changes in:

  • government guidance around the COVID-19 pandemic
  • the needs of the organisation

You might also be reviewing the outcome of a trial period.

For example, an employer agreed with their staff to try working from home for a trial period of 6 months. It worked better than expected, so they agreed to offer it more widely.

You should regularly review your policies and consult your employees and their representatives. Discuss how things are going and if any changes could be made.

Find out about consulting employees and their representatives

Making changes to employment contracts

When you're creating or updating a policy, you should check whether you'll need to make a change to employment contracts.

Things to check in a contract include:

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

Find out more about making changes to employment contracts

If you do not need to change an employment contract

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

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