Hybrid working is a new term referring to employees who work partially from the office/place of work and the remainder of their working week from home/remotely. As an employer, it is important you understand what is involved and what you need to consider as hybrid working will inevitably become the new way in which employees will work.
Health and Safety
Hybrid working will essentially mean less people working in the office, allowing more space and room for employees to work. This makes social distancing easier to follow and potentially minimises the risk of infection. It is essential that you ensure that all risk assessments are up-to-date and that your workplace is COVID-19 secure. Click here to download our COVID19 Health and Safety Workplace Guidance.
Employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for employees working from home as for any other employees, including the duty not to charge employees for things done or provided pursuant to their specific requirements.
If you have staff working at home, you must still manage the risks to their health, including risks in relation to display screen equipment (DSE) and the safety of any equipment issued for work (such as the inspection, testing and maintenance of portable electrical equipment). Learn more here.
Employers must supply employees working remotely with suitable equipment and online communication resources. Making the transition from office to home as seamless as possible plays a critical role in the successful implementation of hybrid working.
Policies and Legal Implications
Hybrid working is a form of flexible working. Employers can either adapt or update their existing flexible working policy to include hybrid working as a specific category or introduce a specific hybrid working policy.
When developing policies and procedures, organisations should consider the following:
- The permitted extent of hybrid working, i.e. agreed number of days/proportion of the working week.
- Setting out which employees are eligible for hybrid working.
- Explain how they can make a request for hybrid working.
- Clarifying roles and responsibilities for hybrid workers and people managers.
- How hybrid working intersects with other forms of flexible working.
- Reviewing other related policies, including, for example, expenses, IT, data protection, display screen equipment (DSE), electrical safety, stress and wellbeing, and homeworking.
Businesses will need to consider the implications that hybrid working may have for an employee’s contract. For employees who request hybrid working through a flexible working policy which is accepted, formal changes to the terms and conditions of employment will need to be made.
Hybrid working can be undertaken on an informal basis without any changes to employee contracts. It is important to ensure that your employees and managers understand the differences and the implications of both.
What Are the Benefits?
With many employees still working from home, some have identified the benefits that homeworking has provided them personally and their organisation. These include a better work/life balance; fewer distractions, time for family and friends, no more commuting to the office and higher levels of motivation.
The benefits hybrid working has for the organisation include savings on office space, higher levels of employee job satisfaction and reduced absence rates.
The implications of COVID-19 on employee wellbeing will need to be considered when supporting employees and their return to work. Employers will need to address any concerns or anxieties employees may be experiencing on their return to the workplace.
Hybrid working can help support and improve employee wellbeing by reducing commuting time, providing employees with flexibility around their schedules and allowing extra time for health and wellbeing activities. Hybrid working, however, may bring specific challenges around work/life balance and managing the boundaries between work and home life. Click here to find out more about our Workplace Wellbeing Service.
Please contact a member of our Employment Law team on 02920 853794 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.