How to Prepare an Employee Handbook for a Hybrid Workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown employees that being in the office all day is not necessary to be productive.

Consequently, hybrid work models are becoming popular. ADPRI Research revealed that 65% of global workplaces have adopted a hybrid model as of 2023, an increase from 50% in 2020.

Furthermore, a 2023 report from the Society for Human Resource Management predicts that by 2025, 82% of businesses will have implemented a hybrid work model.

To comply with evolving laws and guidelines while maintaining clear communication, you must have an employee handbook that suits your business.

In this article, we will shed light on what is involved in preparing an employee handbook for a hybrid workforce.

What is Hybrid Working?

Hybrid working is a flexible work approach that divides the workforce into three categories:

  • Those who work in the office
  • Those who work remotely, and
  • Those who can choose between remote work and office work.

The allocation of individuals to these groups depends on personal preference, job roles, and specific circumstances.

While the traditional office setup is not disappearing anytime soon, employees are expressing a clear preference for hybrid working arrangements.

According to a survey by Cloudbooking and YouGov, 55% of respondents favor a mix of office and home-based work, with an additional 9% preferring a combination of home, office, and approved public spaces.

What are Employee Handbooks and Why are They Important?

Employee handbooks are important documents that outline the policies and procedures required for an organization's operations.

They ensure legal compliance and protect both employees and employers by providing clear expectations.

These handbooks are used to set expectations, as they clearly define the company's identity, employee responsibilities, and acceptable behavior.

While employee handbooks may reiterate information shared elsewhere, they serve as a single, authoritative source for employees.

In addition to detailing company policies for compliance, employee handbooks act as a code of conduct, guiding expected behavior. They also describe how work should be conducted, consolidating this information into a central document, although it may be discussed in different forums.

Steps for Preparing an Employee Handbook for a Hybrid Workforce

To create an employee handbook for a hybrid workforce, you need to carefully balance the needs of both in-office and remote employees. The handbook should be comprehensive, clear, and accessible to everyone in your organization.

Here are the main components to consider:

#1 Company Overview

The Company Overview section introduces new and existing employees to the company’s identity, goals, and structure. It provides a foundation that helps employees understand the company in which they work, thereby creating a sense of belonging and alignment with the company’s mission.

Here are the elements in this section:

Mission Statement and Values

  • Define the company's purpose and the principles guiding its operations.
  • Highlight the company's overall goals and the standards of behavior expected from employees.

Company History

  • Provide information about when, where, and by whom the company was founded.
  • Include significant achievements and turning points in the company’s history.
  • State the major developments in the company’s journey, such as expansions, product launches, or important partnerships.

Business Structure

The organizational structure helps employees navigate the company’s hierarchy and understand how different departments and roles interrelate. This can be in the form of:

  • A visual representation of the company’s structure, including key departments and leadership roles.
  • Brief descriptions of each department’s functions and responsibilities.
  • Introduction to the key leaders within the company, including their roles and contributions.

#2 Employment Policies

Employment policies lay the foundation for a fair, transparent, and compliant workplace. This section covers the key policies that govern the employment relationship from recruitment to onboarding.

This section should include:

Equal Employment Opportunity

  • State your company's commitment to providing equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants. This includes a commitment to non-discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any other protected characteristic.
  • Explain how your organization implements this policy, such as through training programs, fair hiring practices, and regular reviews to ensure compliance.

Hiring Process

  • Outline the steps you take to recruit new employees, including job postings, the application process, and the criteria used to evaluate candidates.
  • Provide guidelines on how you conduct interviews, ensuring they are fair, consistent, and free from bias.
  • Explain the background check process, including what you check (such as criminal records and employment history) and how you use the information.

Onboarding Procedures

  • Describe the orientation process for new hires, including what they will learn about the company, their role, and the team they will be working with.
  • Detail the initial training provided to new employees, covering job-specific skills, company policies, and any required compliance training.
  • If applicable, explain the probationary period for new hires, including its duration and the criteria for successful completion.

#3 Workplace Policies

Workplace policies provide clear guidelines and expectations for both remote and in-office work settings, ensuring that all employees understand their roles and responsibilities, regardless of where they are working.

Here's a look at the components that you can include in this section:

Work Environment

  • Define your company's commitment to maintaining a respectful and inclusive work environment. This includes policies against discrimination, harassment, and bullying.
  • Emphasize the importance of mutual respect among all employees, whether they are working remotely or on-site.

Hybrid Work Schedule

  • Describe the flexibility allowed in hybrid work schedules. Explain how employees can request adjustments to their schedules and the process for getting approval.
  • Outline how hybrid work schedules should be coordinated within teams to ensure effective collaboration and coverage. Provide tools or methods for scheduling team meetings and collaborative work sessions.
  • Explain the technology and tools you will provide to support hybrid work, such as communication platforms, project management software, and virtual meeting tools. Offer guidelines on using these tools effectively to stay connected and productive.

Communication and Collaboration

  • List the official communication channels you use (e.g., email, instant messaging, video conferencing). Provide best practices for their use, including response time expectations and communication etiquette.
  • Introduce the collaboration tools available to employees, such as shared document platforms, project management systems, and virtual whiteboards. Offer tips on maximizing their use for both remote and in-office team members.
  • Establish guidelines for scheduling and conducting meetings, including preferred meeting times, the use of video conferencing, and protocols for hybrid meetings where some participants are remote and others are in-office.

#4 Compensation and Benefits

This section describes how employees are rewarded for their work and the additional perks they receive as part of their employment. It provides transparency about pay structures, benefits, and the policies governing them, ensuring employees understand what to expect and what is expected of them.

Here's a breakdown of what you can include in this section:

Salary Structure

  • Describe the various pay grades or levels within the company. This should include information on how salaries are determined and any factors that influence pay, such as experience, education, and performance.
  • Explain the frequency and method of salary payments (e.g., bi-weekly, monthly), including any specific details on direct deposits or paychecks.

Benefits Overview

  • Provide details about the health insurance plans available to employees, including coverage options, eligibility criteria, and how to enroll.
  • Outline the retirement savings options, such as 401(k) plans, including company contributions or matching policies.
  • Mention any other benefits, such as dental and vision insurance, life insurance, disability coverage, wellness programs, and employee assistance programs (EAPs).

Time Off Policies

  • Detail the company’s vacation policy, including how vacation days are accrued, the process for requesting time off, and any restrictions or blackout periods.
  • Explain the sick leave policy, including how many days are available, how they can be used, and any documentation required for extended absences.
  • Include information on additional leave types, such as parental leave, bereavement leave, jury duty, and unpaid leave options.

Performance-Based Incentives

  • Describe any bonus programs, including eligibility criteria and how bonuses are calculated.
  • If applicable, explain how profit-sharing works and how employees can benefit from the company’s financial success.
  • Detail any stock option plans, including vesting schedules and how employees can participate.

#5 Performance and Development

This refers to the policies and procedures that are used to evaluate employee performance. These policies foster professional growth and support career development within an organization.

This section can include:

Performance Evaluation

  • Describe the process for setting clear and measurable performance objectives that align with individual and organizational goals.
  • Outline the criteria that you use to assess employee performance, including metrics, behaviors, and competencies.
  • Specify how often performance evaluations are conducted, such as annually, bi-annually, or quarterly.
  • Explain how feedback is collected and delivered during performance reviews, including self-assessments, peer reviews, and manager feedback.

Professional Development

  • Describe your organization's commitment to providing training and development opportunities to enhance employees' skills and knowledge.
  • Outline policies for supporting employees' pursuit of further education, such as tuition reimbursement or access to educational resources.
  • Describe programs or resources available to employees for career guidance, coaching, and mentorship.
  • Highlight initiatives to encourage employees to develop skills outside their primary role or department.

Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs)

  • Explain the purpose of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) and the steps involved in implementing one.
  • Outline the support and resources available to employees on a PIP, such as additional training, coaching, or mentorship.
  • Specify the timeline for improvement and the specific goals or objectives employees are expected to achieve during the PIP period.
  • Communicate the consequences of failing to meet the expectations outlined in the PIP, including potential disciplinary actions or termination.

#6 Workplace Conduct

This component of an employee handbook refers to the expected standards of behavior and ethical conduct that employees must uphold while performing their duties. It sets the tone for professionalism, respect, and integrity within the organization.

This section should include:

Code of Conduct

  • Outline the fundamental principles and values that guide employee behavior. Cover topics such as honesty, integrity, respect for others, and compliance with laws and regulations.

Anti-Harassment Policy

  • Define harassment, provide examples, and outline the procedures for reporting and addressing complaints. The goal is to create a safe and inclusive work environment free from harassment and discrimination.

Ethical Guidelines

  • Outline specific ethical standards and expectations for employee conduct. This may include guidelines for conflicts of interest, confidentiality, proper use of company resources, and adherence to professional standards.

#7 Health and Safety

The Health and Safety component outlines policies and procedures that ensure the well-being and physical safety of employees, whether they are working remotely or in the office. This section can include:

General Health and Safety Guidelines

  • Highlight your organization’s commitment to promoting a safe and healthy work environment. You can include information on your company's adherence to relevant health and safety regulations and standards.

Emergency Procedures

  • Provide information on who to contact and how to communicate during emergencies.

Mental Health Support

  • Provide information on available mental health resources, such as employee assistance programs (EAPs), counseling services, and initiatives to promote work-life balance and stress management.

Health and Wellness Programs

  • Outline any health and wellness program available to employees, such as fitness initiatives, nutrition counseling, or mindfulness workshops.

#8 Communication Policies

This section describes the guidelines and expectations regarding how employees should communicate within the company. It helps maintain effective communication and ensures that employees interact respectfully and professionally.

Components of this section can include:

Internal Communication Tools

  • Outline the tools and platforms employees should use for internal communication and collaboration. It may include platforms such as email, instant messaging apps, project management software, and video conferencing tools.

Communication Etiquette

  • Describe the expected norms and etiquette for communication within the company. It can cover aspects such as professional tone, response time, clear and concise communication, use of language and tone, and cultural sensitivity.

Feedback Mechanisms

  • Outline the channels that employees employees can use to provide feedback, suggestions, or concerns. It may include regular feedback sessions, anonymous feedback options, and surveys and feedback forms.

#9 Disciplinary Procedures

Maintaining standards of behavior and performance is important for the overall functioning and success of any organization. Disciplinary procedures outline the steps that will be taken in case an employee fails to meet these standards.

Here’s an in-depth look at this component:

Disciplinary Process

  • Lay out the step-by-step procedure that you will follow when disciplinary action is necessary.
  • It usually includes identification of the issue, investigation, meeting with the employee, determination of disciplinary action, implementation of disciplinary action, and follow-up.

Appeals Process

  • Describe the process for appealing, including who the appeal should be addressed to and the timeline for resolution.

Conflict Resolution

  • Provide information on informal conflict resolution mechanisms. Encourage open communication and provide avenues for resolving conflicts before they escalate to maintain a positive work environment.

#10 Separation Policies

These comprise procedures and guidelines that govern the process of an employee leaving the company, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.

This section outlines the steps both the employer and the departing employee need to take to ensure a smooth transition and protect the interests of both parties.

The "Separation Policies" section can comprise:

Resignation Process

  • Outline the steps an employee should follow when resigning from their position.
  • Specify the required notice period that employees must provide before leaving the company.
  • Explain the format and content of the resignation letter, if applicable.
  • Describe whether exit interviews are conducted and their purpose.

Termination Procedures

  • Describe the procedures followed when you terminate an employee's employment.
  • Specify why an employee may be terminated, such as performance issues, misconduct, or organizational restructuring.
  • Detail the notice period that the employer must provide to the employee before termination, as per employment laws or company policy.
  • Explain whether the company offers severance pay and under what circumstances it is provided.
  • Outline the process for returning company-owned equipment, documents, and any other property upon termination.

Post-Employment Obligations

  • Describe the obligations and restrictions that continue to apply to the employee after leaving your organization.
  • Detail any non-compete clauses that the departing employee must adhere to, including the duration and geographic scope of the restrictions.
  • Remind employees of their ongoing obligation to protect confidential information acquired during their employment.
  • Clarify the ownership of intellectual property created during the employee's tenure and any restrictions on its use post-employment.

#11 Acknowledgment and Updates

This section ensures that employees not only receive but also acknowledge that they receive and understand the content of the handbook. It usually contains:

Employee Acknowledgment

  • After employees have reviewed the handbook, they are usually required to sign a statement confirming that they have received, read, and understood the policies outlined within.

Policy Updates

  • Explain the process for updating the handbook and how employees will be informed of these changes.
  • It may include information on where employees can access the most current version of the handbook and how they will be notified of updates, such as through email, company intranet, or during team meetings.

Employee Feedback

  • Invite employees to share their thoughts, suggestions, or concerns about the content, clarity, or relevance of the policies.
  • Feedback mechanisms could include surveys, suggestion boxes, or designated points of contact within the HR department.


Simplify Employee Handbook Creation and Maintenance

HR professionals and business leaders, especially those in startups, often have to manage multiple priorities, which can sometimes make them overlook the task of developing and updating employee handbooks.

Fortunately, the experts at Levy are proficient in areas ranging from employment law to benefits plans and can assist startups in creating, maintaining, and distributing employee handbooks. Our specialists can:

  • Develop various forms of policies like anti-discrimination, health and safety protocols, and grievance procedures, and update these policies in response to changes in laws or business operations.
  • Provide ongoing support by answering questions and addressing situations related to the employee handbook.
  • Guide startups in updating and scaling their handbooks to match the organization's changing size and complexity.

While some HR consultants offer standard templates and policies, Levy customizes employee handbooks to meet the specific needs, cultures, and business practices of their clients. This ensures that the handbook aligns with your company's mission, values, and regulations.

Although this is a one-time task and Levy charges an additional fee, it is less expensive than hiring HR consultants. Expect this task to take approximately 12 hours.


Employee handbooks for a hybrid workplace are important for business success, as they help instill company culture among employees and maintain clarity during conflicts.

However, to prepare an effective employee handbook for a hybrid workforce, you need to understand the unique needs and challenges of hybrid work arrangements. This includes addressing issues like communication protocols, work hours, remote work expectations, and technology use.

Does your organization need help creating a new employee handbook or updating an existing one? Contact the experts at Levy today.


What is a hybrid workplace structure?

The hybrid workplace structure integrates remote and on-site employees. It offers flexibility for some or all staff to decide where and when they work. Office time can be scheduled by days, by teams, or based on necessity.

How do you manage employees in a hybrid workplace?

Here are things you can do to manage employees in a hybrid workplace:

  • Create a hybrid work model
  • Ensure clear and effective communication
  • Define roles and responsibilities
  • Implement appropriate performance management strategies
  • Offer necessary support to team members
  • Encourage networking opportunities
  • Monitor and support employee wellbeing
  • Stay vigilant about conflict management

What is an example of a hybrid work model?

Here are some of the best examples of hybrid work models:

  • Split-week schedules: Employees spend part of the week in the office and the other part working remotely.
  • Role-based models: Some roles are designated as always remote, while others are always office-based.
  • Flex-time model: Employees select their in-office days based on the need for collaboration or their personal preferences.

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