Hybrid Remote Working Policy for Office and Home Work

27 January 2023 | HR & Employment

Hybrid Remote Working Policy for Office and Home Work

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This Insight is #10 in our Employment Handbook series, keep an eye out for more.

Hybrid Working Policy: A Guide for Employers

Hybrid working is when an employee splits their work time between working remotely and working at the office.

Is Hybrid Working Here to Stay?

The way businesses operate in the UK has changed significantly over the past few years.

Some businesses embraced homeworking and hybrid working many years ago, but there were many that wouldn’t entertain it.  Until the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 came along, and employers were compelled to allow their employees to work from home.

During the pandemic, working from home for part or all or the time became the norm for many employees, and this has forced a change in how working from home is viewed. 

As a result, UK employers may wish to put in place longer-term hybrid working arrangements which allow staff to continue to work remotely all the time or by splitting their work time between a remote location such as their homes, and the workplace.

Working partly from home and partly in the workplace is known by a number of different names, such as hybrid working, agile working, remote working, blended working or split-working.

Hybrid Remote Working Policy for Employers & Employees

If an employee wants to change their working arrangement so that they can work remotely for part or all of the time, then they’ll need an agreement from their employer as there isn’t an automatic right for them to work from a remote location, such as their home. 

It’s then up to the employer to decide whether they’re going to allow the change.  If the employee has been in the company’s employ for at least 26 weeks, they can ask to work remotely as part of a flexible working request. In that case, the employer is to follow the statutory procedure for dealing with flexible working requests.

A hybrid remote working policy needs to set out how hybrid working will work.  It should cover:

  • How an employee can apply for a hybrid working arrangement.
  • Who is eligible for hybrid remote working.
  • When the staff member needs to attend the workplace (for example, training or weekly meetings and so on).
  • That the right to hybrid working is discretionary and permission to do so can be revoked by the employer at any time.

It must be noted that while it is intended for hybrid working to be non-contractual and discretionary, employers should be aware of the possibility that the hybrid working arrangement may, depending on its nature and duration, become an implied term of the employment contract and therefore be contractual. This would mean that the employee could legally insist to be allowed to work from home.

Discrimination

Employers should be careful that they don’t discriminate against certain employees or groupings of employees if they refuse to allow hybrid work. For example, a refusal to allow remote working may have a disproportionate effect on female employees, or those employees with a disability, which could result in them being discriminated against.

Your responsibility as an Employer

As a matter of law employers must give employees employment contracts which cover the key terms of the employment relationship, but the contract won’t cover all of the policies, procedures and expectations for the relationship between a business and the people within it. A employee handbook can include information for all team members, including employees, workers, apprentices and agency staff. Not only can a employee handbook bring together useful guidance for everyone on the culture, values and expectations the business as but it will often be a resource that can save a dispute from arising or provide the best framework for resolving a dispute. The non-contractual policies and procedures that can be included in a employee handbook will sit alongside contracts of employment to set out how employees are expected to act and how the employer will deal with certain situations.

Putting all the policies and procedures together in one place that is accessible to everyone working in a business is good practice and can provide an invaluable framework for reference on all of the HR issues to cover. If any grievance or dispute arises, having a policy or procedure to refer to and follow can help prevent the situation escalating. If the worst occurs and a claim comes before a tribunal, being able to show the policies and procedures that were followed can make a huge difference to the outcome.

For more information about Hybrid Working Policies and how they help your business become more efficient get in touch with our Employment Law team today on 0330 912 8338.

This article and the policy are provided for general information purposes only and you should take specialist advice in relation to specific circumstances. Whilst we endeavour to ensure that what we say is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy, and Atkins Dellow LLP does not accept any liability for error or omission.

© Atkins Dellow LLP 2022

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Please note this article is provided for general information purposes only to clients and friends of Atkins Dellow LLP. It is not intended to impart legal advice on any matter. Specialist advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances. Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information in this article is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy, and Atkins Dellow LLP does not accept any liability for error or omission.

© Atkins Dellow LLP 2022

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