An Employee Handbook Should Fit the Current Workplace Model
Following Covid-19 shutdowns, many employers have moved to a hybrid workplace, where a section of the employees works remotely for all or part of their workweek. There are many benefits to this, including a reduction in the cost of rent and office expenses, and effective recruitment and retention of employees, who need a more flexible schedule.
On the other hand, company culture can suffer when employees are not at all working in the same location. Moreover, there can be a lack of mentoring and difficulty yin connecting with remote employees. Therefore, careful thought should be given to updating the employee handbook to better fit the current workplace model, ensure control over the work product and facilitate consistency and connectivity.
One of the reasons for having an employee handbook is to provide clear communication to the employees about policies, expectations and responsibilities. This eliminates confusion and sets up employees for long-term success within the company. A thorough and well-written employee handbook can also provide factual and legal support for the termination of employees, who refuse to follow company policies.
Here are ten things to think about when updating the employee handbook for a hybrid workplace:
1. Logistics of Remote Work
Employers should have a concrete plan for remote work that makes sense for the business. For example, identifying the job positions that can work remotely all the time, those that cannot work remotely at all, and those that can be hybrid (working in the business location for part of the week and remotely for the remaining part). Also, you need to determine what jobs will be performed remotely, whether they need to be done fully remote or part-time, and any requirements or limitations for the remote work.
For example, some employers have implemented policies that allow certain job positions to work from home two or three days a week, once the employees in those positions have worked for the company for a specific period of time.
Finally, employers should think about what equipment will be provided to those who are working remotely and how to handle expenses incurred in connection with remote work (such as the cost of Wi-Fi, phones, equipment, office supplies, etc.). Once all the logistics are worked out, the employee handbook should be closely reviewed with that in mind and revised, where necessary, to address how the company’s policies apply to remote work.
One of the challenges for companies that have employees working remotely is implementing and maintaining a strong company culture. In updating policies, employers should think about what they want their company culture to be and how their policies can support that vision. For example, if a company wants to foster strong mentoring between senior and junior employees, then a mentoring program should be developed and included in the employee handbook.
3. Job Descriptions
Job descriptions may need to be updated to specifically describe the work to be accomplished, address how and when the work will be performed from a remote location and set forth any expectations for reporting to supervisors or checking in with a team.
4. Working Hours
A typical policy in an employee handbook identifies the hours that employees are expected to work. However, employees working remotely may not need to conform to those specific hours. Or perhaps it is
important that they do keep the same schedule. Either way, this should be addressed in …….