Out of Sight But Not Out of Mind: Considerations for Hybrid Working
- AuthorCatherine Almeida
More employers are embracing the idea of hybrid working, having seen their teams cope with its challenges during the pandemic. It may be the case that for some office-based companies, the working world has changed for good. However, splitting time between a traditional office and home, or working from home full time, doesn’t always work for everyone.
For some businesses and for many roles it may not be possible. If as a business you want to embed the practice into your culture it is important not to neglect the legal issues involved. Putting a clear and accessible hybrid working policy in place, as well as specifically tailored employment contracts for hybrid workers is the key to getting this right. You should approach this as collaboratively as possible – consulting upon the policy with staff and with any union representatives where this is applicable.
In having hybrid working contracts drawn up you might consider:
- Identifying the correct place of work (this might be the office for part of the week and at home for part of the week)
- Including a caveat that the employee should be required to attend the workplace from time to time for client or team meetings
- Are working hours to be set in stone or can they be flexible?
- Do you want to retain the right to revert back to office-based working if the business needs change?
- Who will pay expenses such as phone and internet bills?
- Who will provide and pay for equipment?
You must think very carefully too about protection of Intellectual Property and about taking care of your own company data. Who might have access to data if a staff member is working away from the office? Protecting data should be carefully considered. Specific clauses within employment contracts and policies should be incorporated to address these issues and mitigate any risk.
As an employer, you still have a responsibility for the health and safety of your employees, workers, and contractors. So, you should provide safe equipment and a safe working environment. You will also need to carry out risk assessments that take into account physical risks as well as any risk to Mental Health.
There are many other considerations to take into account to ensure you are meeting your legal requirements as an employer, and that you are not putting your company at risk of legal action. It is important to seek detailed advice from a legal specialist. Our Employment and HR Team is on hand to help you with this.