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March 15, 2023

Creating a Successful Hybrid Work Policy

by Samantha Huff

In honor of this year’s Telework Week DC (March 6-10) that kicked off the month, we’re celebrating Telework in all of its forms including fully remote workers and those on a hybrid schedule. Although most DC employers aren’t fully remote, at least 35% of employers in the District are shifting to a hybrid policy. The hybrid model may be the best of both worlds for employers, employees, and the city, but it does present its own challenges.  

To find success with this type of work structure, employers need to audit their policies and consider that after two years of working from home, pre-pandemic in-office policies can’t just be resurrected without evaluation. Companies need to assess their new hybrid work situation and address the challenges it brings regarding confusion among employees, regional emergency ride programs, and complying with local DC transportation ordinances. Creating a new formal hybrid policy from scratch may sound like a heavy lift, but if you follow our list of items to consider below, you’ll be off to a great start. 

What Is a Hybrid Schedule/Policy? 

A hybrid schedule is a flexible work model that combines remote/telework and in-office work. Ex: Working from home 3 days a week, going into the office 2 days a week.  

A formal hybrid policy is an agreement that outlines where, when, and how employees can work. Having a formalized policy is important as it provides company-wide guidance for managers and transparency for employees.  Follow our tips below to create or improve your formal hybrid policy.  

Include Who Is Eligible at Your Organization 

It’s important to lay out exactly which employees are eligible for a hybrid work schedule, what makes them eligible, and when they become eligible. Some employees may need to be in the office full-time because of the nature of their job, so include that distinction in your policy. Additionally, do you want new hires to be in the office full-time for their first month? If so, include that in your policy as well.   

Be Clear About When and Why Employees Should Be in the Office 

About 38% of hybrid employees say their biggest challenge in the past few months was knowing when and why they should come into the office. Is this something you have outlined in your hybrid work policy? Possibly not, as only 28% of leaders report including it in their policies. Make sure you have clear and direct instructions on when employees should come into the office. Should they be in for important meetings? On a certain day? If they need to access certain equipment? Use examples and include the “why” behind these in-office requirements. 

Create an In-Office Schedule 

Expanding on the item above, it’s important to address employees’ in-office days in relation to other employees. Will all employees be in-office on the same day? Will you have two teams A/B that alternate in-person days? Will you have two schedules A/B with one overlapping day?  

To go even further, will employees get to choose which A/B schedule they are on or the days they come in? If so, is that chosen on a first come first serve basis, based on seniority, or job type?    

Address Who Provides Equipment 

This commonly overlooked item is vital for a successful hybrid policy. You should address if the employer or the employee will be the one responsible for providing equipment or if it’s a mix. It’s common for employers to provide a computer, but who is responsible for their desk, chair, headset, or even Wi-Fi? Make sure to spell out clearly what items the employer will provide.  

Do You Provide a Work from Home Stipend? 

Some employers have even implemented a monthly work from home stipend to help cover the cost of items they would normally provide in their office, such as notepads, paperclips, Wi-Fi, and desk chairs. This is a great benefit and should be laid out clearly in your hybrid policy.   

Include Guidance on Weekly Structure/Meetings 

It’s important to provide guidance to your managers and employees about when they should schedule meetings during a hybrid work week. Should staff meetings, team check-ins, and brainstorming meetings happen on in-person days? Can other short one-on-one meetings occur over Zoom or Microsoft Team during remote days?  

goDCgo Hybrid Tip: Store your organization’s formal hybrid policy in an easily accessible location like a shared drive or intranet, and send a reminder once or twice a year to employees. 

Consider How a Hybrid Policy Affects Other Benefits & Laws 

DC Laws: DC has two local ordinances that apply to employers in the District: the DC Commuter Benefits Law and the DC Parking Cashout Law. If you meet the base qualifications of these laws, you must comply with them even if your employees are on a hybrid work schedule. Our employer team can help you navigate and comply with these laws. 

Guaranteed Ride Home: The regional Guaranteed Ride Home program, run by Commuter Connections, requires employees to commute by transit, carpool, bike, walking, or scooter at least two times a week to qualify for the program. Since many are only going back to the office one day a week, they are unable to use this benefit. If you have employees who only work from the office one day a week, you can supplement the regional program by covering rides for unexpected overtime and emergencies. Talk to our employer team to learn how. 

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