In our annual recruitment industry survey this year, 87% of recruitment agency owners said they’ll continue to offer a remote or hybrid working model to their recruiters.
But the crazy thing is, 57% of businesses are operating without any form of work-from-home policy right now. If you’re part of that 57% - or you have a policy that hasn’t been reviewed in the last year or so – now is the time to do it.
Having a water-tight remote/hybrid-working policy in place won’t just protect your agency from any HR and legal grey areas (although that’s the most important part!). Policies also create trust and improve relationships between management and staff because they leave nothing to interpretation.
Here are 5 areas you’ll want to include in your remote working policy to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Remote working isn’t always going to work for absolutely everyone in your business which is why so many companies are opting for a hybrid model and keeping their office. Afterall, what use is an office manager who works from home five days of the week?
This is why it’s a good idea to have an eligibility clause in your policy that makes it clear that fully-remote working is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Establish guidelines for your recruiters to qualify and have a process where they apply for approval to work at home some days of the week.
This will protect you from any situations where, if you have a problem employee who hasn’t hit target for months and isn’t delivering on outcomes, you don’t have to agree to them working from home if you think it’s not good for the business.
You might even want to think about having a clause that says approval can be amended or revoked any time at a manager’s discretion.
2. Expected deliverables
If you’re like most recruitment managers, the thing that makes you uneasy about having your recruiters work from home a little more is that you can’t see what they’re up to all day. But if your teams are all delivering on their contracted objectives, what’s there to worry about?
Every team will have different deliverables set separately by their line manager, but if you get it in writing that remote working privileges are dependent on recruiters delivering on their objectives each month, this will help you relax and motivate them to work hard to retain those privileges.
Research has shown us again and again the last few years that productivity levels improve when staff get to work from home – it’s just about using your hybrid policy to protect the business from any rare situations where it isn’t working out.
3. Work hours and requirements
Getting your working hours and availability requirements built into your hybrid-working policy is crucial as any grey areas will get a lot greyer when staff aren't in the office.
What are your core working hours that your recruiters need to be available each day? What are your expected response times on internal emails and calls? Do you have a policy around using communication software like Microsoft Teams or Slack for your recruiters to make it clear when they’re away from their desks?
Weaving some regular compulsory meetings into your policy is also a good idea as they keep your team connected and get people into the habit of blocking these times out in their diaries so they don’t take calls.
And on that note, bring in some online meeting requirements to make sure your recruiters treat these online meetings with the same respect they have for in-person ones: Cameras on, no phones and no multi-tasking!
These kinds of details are so often left out of hybrid-working policies but in practice, they’re pretty crucial.
We all know the physical boundaries of the workplace get blurry when you’re working from home some days - we learned this the hard way during the pandemic!
But it’s important to remember that having a clear distinction between what is and isn’t the workplace isn’t just important for your recruiters’ mental health – it’s important for legal reasons too.
Some businesses ask employees to take a picture of their workspace and sign liability waivers. Others add a clause to their policy that says staff agree to keep their space hazard-free. The question is who accepts responsibility for any injuries incurred when working from home? It’s important to figure this out and weave it into your policy.
When your recruiters take their laptops home to work, it’s easy for them to fall into the habit of using them to watch Netflix in bed, or check their company emails on their personal laptop.
But blurring the lines between company and personal equipment leaves your agency vulnerable to viruses and, if your recruiters have a habit of downloading CVs onto desktops, a GDPR nightmare too.
This is why it’s important to state clearly in your hybrid-working agreement what your policy is around things like password sharing, downloading software, and handling candidate data.
Ensuring these points are all written into your policy documents will protect your business and give your recruiters some much-needed guidance on what’s expected of them if they’re going to blend office work with working from home.
If you’re looking for more support in how to make a hybrid working model work for your recruitment agency, this eBook has everything you need to know:
Katie once headed up the Firefish blog and marketing team. She now works as a freelance copywriter and continues to contribute to our award-winning blog.