Lily Asumadu, Employment Law and HR Consultant at NatWest Mentor, says that employers need to ensure that any hybrid working policy is formulated in the right way, balancing the needs of the business with those of its employees, setting out clearly how it will be implemented.
“Some clients are now incorporating a hybrid structure, but typically this has not been formalised with an official policy,” Asumadu explains. “The consensus is that businesses are waiting to see how government guidance develops prior to taking any further steps.”
She points out that businesses that fail to develop and implement a hybrid working policy face considerable risks:
Social distancing breaches: a lack of clarity about who is expected in the office and when could lead to a breach of social distancing guidelines. The right policy should make it clear exactly when and how many staff are expected in the workplace, although in some cases this may depend on the size of the business and the number of workers.
Discrimination claims: if remote working is not made available to staff on an equitable basis, it could lead to claims for discrimination. For example, if hybrid working is only offered to those with parental responsibilities, younger workers could be unfairly excluded.