Going hybrid? Get a remote work policy, attorney says

Kennith Bogan

Employers may perhaps get rid of several of the modifications the pandemic pushed on them, but it truly is possible that remote do the job is not on the listing of points to go, at the very least not solely. Hybrid perform — a operating arrangement that brings together remote and in-human being perform in a person way or an additional — is getting attractiveness as businesses announce return-to-do the job ideas. But as employers get their footing in “the new usual,” they are going to want to ensure their employee handbook consists of the policies necessary to set them up for results.

In the dialogue underneath, edited for brevity and clarity, lawyer John Viola, a companion at Thompson Coburn, discusses which insurance policies are most vital as businesses go after hybrid preparations.

HR DIVE: What is actually the most important policy hybrid employers will need to include in their handbooks?

VIOLA: The most important thing is if businesses don’t have a distant work plan presently, they require to have one in their handbook. And to get a person implemented and to make confident that the distant operate coverage handles a range of subjects. I believe that’s the range a person factor, that if an employer does not have a remote perform plan in the handbook currently, or even as a standalone coverage, they need to have to insert that immediately.

What are the most important factors of a distant perform plan?

VIOLA: Effectively, you know, there are quite a few matters that ought to be in there. And, as an aside, we’ve observed claims and circumstances about eligibility to operate remotely very well prior to the pandemic. So I assume that if businesses enable a combine of doing work in the business and doing work at home, the plan should really set forth clearly which positions are going to be suitable for full or partial distant do the job. 

The policy ought to say what types of operate can be executed remotely and when employees have to be in the office environment as opposed to doing work remotely. And of course, the plan ought to incorporate how the staff need to go again devoid of requesting permission to operate remotely. These, I believe, are the initially issues you will need due to the fact you want to make sure that you’re not discriminating against people today with regard to who might be permitted to operate remotely and beneath what situation.

One more issue these remote get the job done procedures have obtained to make obvious is that workforce are needed to be accessible and predicted to get the job done for the duration of whatever the company’s standard business hours are. And individuals have to have to be in the coverage due to the fact not every single staff is functioning from house during the pandemic and likely forward. Some personnel have moved out of state — we study studies of Hawaii luring remote employees. So you want to make guaranteed that you established forth several hours for the duration of which the personnel is going to be offered to sit with you, to just take emails and to do the get the job done.

What strategies can hybrid businesses use in rolling out any adjustments to their handbooks?

VIOLA: I believe they really should make clear when they’re performing this, what choices are becoming made — for instance, what positions will be permitted to do the job remotely and when — and why the decision has been built. If you just give an edict, workforce are not likely to be happy due to the fact they do not have an understanding of why it won’t use to them if they are chosen to get the job done in the office environment. 

There should really be bulletins and conferences that address adjustments so that persons experience they are a element of the method mainly because let’s experience it, quite a few of us like operating at residence. Correct? So you might be heading to offer with the morale challenge when people today who have to commute, get dressed up and are made use of to savoring much more free of charge time than they would have when working in the workplace surroundings.

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