I’m looking for a remote/hybrid working policy which recognises the value of flexibility, doesn’t require staff to inform management in advance, and is generally more up to date with the arrangements already practised but not written down.
Many of the remote/hybrid working policies I’ve seen are very old school, requiring staff to request permission from seniors to work from home or arrange this in advance. I work for a small charity in the mental health field, and we are generally all very supported to work in the best way that suits us, including staying home if that’s what we need. Yet our policy does not reflect this.
My organisation focuses on self-harm support. We have historically been a feminist collective, but are now a formal charity with more of a hierarchical structure. We have 10 staff and more volunteers (but they work differently to the core staff team). If anyone has any compassionate, inclusive, and based-in-reality remote/hybrid working policies to share I’d be very grateful. Thanks!
Good questions, @jessica! I’m sure there are a ton of groups who have been cobbling thru these situations since the pandemic put them onto our radars without a lot of advance warning.
This Forbes article is about as corporate as you’d expect, and makes (what I think) is a mostly-unhelpful distinction between policies/guidelines/principles (shouldn’t principles be a part of everything???), but does get to a few useful questions re: remote work:
- Be fully able to work with others at work wherever you are.
- Be fully present in all meetings (live or remote.)
- Be physically present together when it’s important for any of the principles for community.
It briefly outlines each of them in the article, in the expected Forbes corporate-speak. I imagine the sensitive context of your work would mean a bit more specificity might be needed at times, to ensure people were where they need to be, when, but maybe these could offer a bit of a starting point?
Would be super-interested to hear what you come up with, as am sure there are others in the community who are grappling with similar questions, so please share it in the library, if you’re comfortable doing so!
I’ve recently worked with a charity to develop and introduce a work from home policy, but I wonder if there’s a tension in what you’re looking for @jessica that won’t be automatically easy to resolve in law: an employer has a responsibility for the health and welfare of employees while they are undertaking their paid/voluntary role - as such, there needs to be an assurance that the person’s home set-up is safe and appropriate for them to be able to work from (and as an additional point, won’t be disrupting their, or their colleagues’, work flows from unannounced/unplanned periods of working from home - which may entail a larger review of whole organisation working practices to mitigate this risk?)
Perhaps to best reconcile all of this, a policy would need some first stage of a person securing the in principle agreement to work from home, and then a broad scope under the circumstances by which they could do this on their own authority?
We have the following, which were all written last year:
- An Hours & Leave policy which includes info on flexible working hours, which all staff automatically have from Day 1
- A Health, Safety & Wellness policy which sets out the organisation’s H&S responsibilities (amongst other things)
- A Working from Home policy, which includes info on the employee’s H&S responsibilities and the organisation’s expectations around security of info and equipment
- Info on how to set up an ergonomic workspace, and a H&S workplace self-assessment form
While the WFH policy says that if people want to work remotely, they need to discuss it with their manager in advance, that’s not a conversation that needs to be held every day; it’s part of the onboarding process - we clarify with the individual what their expectations are around their working days, pattern and location(s), on the understanding that their standard pattern may need to change at any time, depending on what comes up, either in their job or in the rest of their life.
(Note: we’re a campaigning nonprofit with 14 employees, based in Aotearoa New Zealand.)