The easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the UK means that employers are moving ever closer to considering what their future working model will look like. ‘Hybrid working’ is being talked about everywhere and recent research shows that 62% of employers are considering it. So, what is it and how do you implement it?
What is hybrid working?
These days, hybrid working is most commonly used to describe the arrangement where an employee splits their working time between their home and your premises. The proportion of time and particular days and hours worked at each location will depend on the circumstances. There are lots of possible scenarios, but some examples could include:
- Working from home on fixed days and working at your premises on other fixed days (e.g. Monday and Tuesday at home; Wednesday – Friday in the office)
- Working between your premises and home depending on business factors and line manager approval
- Mobile working with a base at home and travel to different premises that you operate or those of customers.
How do we implement hybrid working?
If we adopt a hybrid working model, do we need to amend employment contracts?
You could opt to go down the route of formally changing existing employees’ terms and conditions. If so, you will need to follow an appropriate process.
In some circumstances you will be able to rely on a “mobility clause” (which states that you can change the place of work).
However, for changes not authorised by the contract, you should consult on the proposals; seek employees’ agreement either directly or via collective bargaining; and identify how to approach any decliners (you could impose the change unilaterally or dismiss and re-engage on new terms although both options carry risks). Collective consultation obligations could also be triggered if there’s a proposal to dismiss and re-engage at least 20 employees at one establishment within 90 days.
Is there an alternative to formal contractual change?
Alternatively, rather than making formal contract changes to individual contracts, you could adopt a hybrid working model in your organisation via a home & hybrid working policy, which sets your expectations around the level of homeworking, and then agree informal arrangements with individual employees.
Workbox by Brodies subscribers can access our template home and hybrid working policy. If you do adopt this approach there are, however, various considerations which come into play including, for example:
- If an employee doesn’t agree to informal changes you may find that you need to consider following a process to change their terms and conditions.
- Imposing a change to ‘informal’ arrangements in future could risk breaching trust and confidence or (for example, in cases where childcare has been arranged on the basis of certain arrangements) discrimination.
Workbox subscribers can access a full list of considerations here.
Workbox also has detailed guidance on home and hybrid working, including a template home and hybrid contract of employment. Subscribers can also access FAQs on other key COVID-19 related topics, such as workplace health and safety and vaccination. To find out more about Workbox and how your business could benefit, click here.
Workbox has proved to be a really useful point of reference, in terms of refreshing our knowledge on familiar topics, as well as providing solid guidance and advice with new challenges. There is a huge variety of information provided within and it’s very easy to navigate.Sykes