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As HR managers consider the future of home and hybrid working, there can be little doubt that it’s here to stay. No longer a niche practice affecting the few, it is now a way of working that is front and centre in the minds of employees, job hunters and policy makers. 
For an HR department there is some urgency. The so called ‘great resignation’ now appears to be affecting the UK and the availability of home or hybrid working is a deal breaker for more than half of job hunters, compounding the already tough environment for recruitment and retention. In 2022, we can also expect changes to flexible working legislation that looks set to give employees the ability to request home and hybrid working arrangements from Day 1.  Moving from simply having a home and/or hybrid working policy to home and hybrid working becoming part of the mainstream of HR practices is top of the agenda for many in 2022. 
The devil is in the detail, but broadly speaking there are two angles you should cover as you plan to bring home and hybrid working into the core of HR practices. First, does what you are doing work for you and your employees? And second, how should you adapt existing legal and policy documents to reflect the new ways of working?

Is it working for you and your employees? 

Before taking steps to embed home and hybrid working in your policies and practices for the longer term, it is worth taking a step back and making sure it’s working for you and your employees:
Get feedback - Consider conducting an Employee Satisfaction Survey with a focus on working practices, which you could also consider broadening to include general wellbeing and engagement as these will also be key measures to track.
Take a balanced view - Employers increasingly need to understand the impact of home and hybrid working practices on recruiting and retaining the best employees and an approach that doesn’t take enough account of employees’ needs could do more harm in the long run; as the HR department, you are key to ensuring the right balance is achieved.
Keep the lens of inclusion in focus - As you review your approach, make sure you are considering the impact on inclusion and take any necessary steps to ensure that your policies and practices are inclusive both of those working remotely and those in the workplace. Not only will this help to ensure good employee relations and get the most out of your employees, but it will also enable you to remain legally compliant and minimise discrimination risk.

Adding home and hybrid working across your policies

Bringing home and hybrid working into your established ways of working will involve a detailed look at your existing employee handbook, policies and procedures. As the organisation embraces home and hybrid working as a mainstream way of working and with government proposing to introduce new flexible working regulations, you will need take a holistic view of core policies. This is essential to ensure your policies are fair, consistent and legally compliant while enabling you to retain control of how home and hybrid working arrangements operate in practice. Some areas to consider are: 

S1 statement 
Discipline and grievance policies
Performance management
GDPR and data protection
Expenses for travel and costs of homeworking
Flexible working requests
Sickness absence (e.g. how to tackle employees working when ill)
Dress code
Health and wellbeing

Other considerations

Most compliance or employee relations issues are likely to be picked up via the workstreams discussed above. However, some additional areas you may want to pay particular attention to so they don’t fall through the gaps are:
The knowledge and skill of your people managers in managing a fully/partly remote workforce – are they able deal with the issues that have arisen during the initial period and are they supported by your policies and procedures?
GDPR – this should be part of your policy review but you may also need to bring in your IT department for a broader perspective.
To help you take the next step with your home and/or hybrid working policy and practices, join our webinar on 9th December for practical guidance from our expert HR practitioners and employment lawyers.
You can also download our ‘HR Manager's Manual: home and hybrid working’ for a detailed guide covering the key things you need to know to operate home and hybrid working successfully, be legally compliant and engage your team while building a productive work environment.  Or talk to one of our advisers today by calling 0808 168 5874.