Guidance on Hybrid Home Working
New guidance on hybrid home working was published in December, in the form of a report commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) on behalf of the government’s Flexible Working Taskforce.
Hybrid working is defined by the report as a form of flexible working where workers spend some of their time working remotely and some in the employer’s workplace. Accordingly, hybrid flexible working can deliver the benefits of remote working (e.g. increased productivity at home, according to a recent study) whilst also allowing for the social and collaborative benefits of working together with colleagues in the workplace.
Seems like a win-win, but the report warns employers that, in order for hybrid working to be a success, it must be implemented with concern for inclusion, equality and fairness. In other words, hybrid home working must be accessible to all and employers need to ensure employees are treated equally regardless of how they work.
While hybrid working has the potential to increase inclusion by opening up job opportunities for disabled people and people with caring responsibilities, research has shown that remote working can also have negative consequences for those who are in the workplace less frequently, for example fewer promotion opportunities. This could particularly impact women, who are more likely to want to work from home, creating a gender imbalance. The report says this is because working from home carries a stigma, as a result of unsubstantiated beliefs that those who do so are less committed or motivated.
In order to ensure hybrid flexible working is inclusive and fair, the report makes says organizations should:
- Provide training to managers on the potential equality and inclusion impacts of hybrid work, including issues such a flexibility stigma
- Have a flexible approach to hybrid work in practice and avoid blanket policies such as minimum requirements to attend the workplace which may disadvantage some groups.
- Determine clear and transparent policies and principles about eligibility for and access to hybrid working and establish systems to monitor decision making and access.
- Check in regularly with hybrid workers about their wellbeing
One positive consequence of the pandemic is that it has forced employers to re-think the practical working arrangements of their staff and created an expectation amongst employees that flexible working should be an option. Indeed, a recent YouGov research suggested over half of UK workers would now consider quitting their jobs if a hybrid home working option was removed.
But, as the CIPD report says, it needs to be implemented responsibly and equitably with an understanding of the benefits and risks.
This post was written by Jack Dooley, Paralegal at didlaw.