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The Covid-19 pandemic forced employers to make rapid changes to working practices. With the world beginning to open, many employers are considering whether and how those changes will be reversed or in some cases adapted for the future. If you own a business and are considering introducing hybrid working to your business, it’s important that you plan carefully to protect your business and your staff.

Any arrangements for a return to the office will need to be clearly communicated to your employees and include reassurance over Covid-19 safety measures. In the short term, you should identify whether there are roles which should be prioritised for a return to the workplace, calculate safe occupancy levels, and establish a form of communication where office attendance can be monitored to ensure safe working practices.

In the medium to long term there is no one way to implement hybrid working, it can be tailored to the needs of your business.

Some top tips on introducing hybrid working are:

  • Agree a strategic position and communicate this to your employees – what exactly would a hybrid working policy look like in your organisation?
  • Develop a written policy – this should include who is eligible for hybrid working, health and safety obligations whilst at home, responsibility for expenses, reporting lines, pastoral care and how to handle sickness absence.
  • Establish whether and how your employees can request hybrid working or put themselves forward for it if it is not the default position across the business. This could be done through existing flexible working procedures.
  • Review the efficacy of technology available to support hybrid working, including security measures to protect customer data.

Whilst all employers currently have freedom to decide whether a more flexible working pattern would work for their business, the government is set to launch a consultation later this year on establishing flexible working as the default position in the workplace. The review is likely to explore ways to strengthen existing legal rights to request flexible working. Putting hybrid /flexible working plans in place now, could therefore put your business on the front foot.

This article was co-written by employment partner, Louise Attrup and employment legal assistant, Jenny Dodds.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.