The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has issued guidance to employers to assist them in determining whether hybrid working – a mixture of remote/home and office working – could be an appropriate option for them to adopt and how to implement it.
Acas advice on hybrid working
The published advice, which has been written in consultation with the Acas Council and the Government Flexible Working Taskforce, includes tips on how to:
- Consult with staff members to discuss practical considerations around introducing hybrid working;
- Whether it would work for certain roles and if it is suitable for their business;
- How to create a hybrid working policy; and
- How to deal with employee hybrid working requests.
In summary, the guidance recommends the following to employers:
- When consulting with employees, employers should outline what they are considering changing and why they think it might work for their organisation, invite employees to suggest ideas and discuss their concerns, and consider them.
- In certain cases, an employer might be legally bound to consult with employees or their representatives (e.g. a recognised trade union) regarding the implementation of hybrid working, such as if:
- It is stated in contracts of employment or pre-existing workplace policies;
- Any changes affecting health and safety;
- There is a collective agreement in place; or
- If an employer is planning to alter the employment contracts of 20 or more employees.
- When implementing hybrid working, employers need to ascertain if they need to make alterations to their contracts of employment. These checks include if the employment contract states where the employee works, what hours they work and how the employee will be managed. If alterations for existing contracts are not needed, any hybrid working provisions should be agreed upon with employees and then put in writing.
- When creating a hybrid working policy, an employer should include information on how to introduce and set up remote working practices, and how to support employees. This includes how the equipment will be provided and set up, how cybersecurity will be maintained, safe working measures in remote/home working environments, what support is available to employees (health, safety and wellbeing, performance management and hybrid working training) and how can it be accessed, and insurance requirements (for the employer and staff member).
- The policy should specify which roles are suitable for hybrid working and where, when and how work should be carried out.
- The policy should be reviewed regularly, in consultation with employees, and take into consideration changes in the workplace and/or restrictions relating to Covid-19.
- The policy should not exclude or discriminate against any members of staff – e.g. regardless of the environment in which the employee is working, they should be given access to the same work, support, and opportunities for development and promotion. Managers should ensure that they regularly speak with those that they manage and an employee should not miss out on anything as a result of where they work.
- Finally, the policy must not disadvantage an employee due to a ‘protected characteristic’ or have a disproportionate impact on people with a protected characteristic unless an employer can prove a good business reason for it. If an employee is disabled, reasonable adjustments will need to be made when they are in the workplace or working remotely.
Our fixed fee hybrid working policy service
At Nelsons, our expert team of employment law solicitors in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham advise organisations of all types on appropriate policies and procedures to adopt to provide structure and fairness for managers and employees.
We are currently offering a tailored hybrid working policy that will deal with all of the issues outlined above, in line with your preferred approach, for a fixed cost of £300 + VAT.