Building and branding a hybrid policy that works

Salesforce calls it Success from Anywhere, Okta, Dynamic at Work, Atlassian, Team Anywhere. But what these successful companies are all talking about is the commitment to making hybrid a core part of their workplace culture.

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The future of work has arrived. Here’s how to make it work for you.

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The move to hybrid has a momentum all its own. As remote work companies continue to gain a foothold, companies of all sizes are investing in workplace cultures that deliver true workplace choice to their employees, and looking for ways to make their hybrid policies stand out. 


Branding, and the messaging behind it, can help make the difference. Building a hybrid work model is a serious undertaking; it needs to keep your team connected and engaged; it needs to promote fairness, collaboration, and productivity. But there’s something else – it should look and sound like your company, too.  


Hybrid workplace culture benefits, recapped 


Hybrid working offers employees greater freedom and flexibility – they choose the workplace that works for them depending on their own personal needs and preferences. In return, remote-friendly policies give companies the advantages of an engaged, motivated worker that knows its employer has its interests at heart. 


That’s no small point. In fact, it can be a sizeable advantage. When employees feel appreciated by their bosses, when they know they’re being listened to and that their needs are being heard, they’re more likely to go the extra mile. They’re more likely to think about ways to make the company better and to share those ideas with their managers. Happier employees are more committed and more industrious whose productivity levels routinely set the bar, and that’s healthy for any organization’s bottom line. 


If you build it, they will prosper


With remote work catching on, and study after study showing a majority of workers prefer a flexible, worker-friendly workplace culture, it’s not too late to build one for your organization. It will require planning and commitment, but the good news is, there are plenty of early learnings to build on. As Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO describes it: “Hybrid work represents the biggest shift to how we work in our generation. And it will require a new operating model, spanning people, places and process.” 


Before you can create a policy, you need a strategy. Let’s quickly review Microsoft CEO’s “Big Three” – people, places and process – to see how each concept factors into the building of any successful hybrid workplace initiative.




Any successful workplace policy starts with its people. Taking into account employee needs and preferences is the best (and only) way to ensure equity and inclusivity for all. 


People-related factors to consider include: 

  • Some employees may be eager to get back to the office as soon as possible, others may prefer working remotely for the foreseeable future. Being respectful of each employee’s needs and preferences is central to creating an open, employee-friendly culture.

  • Teams and individuals work differently. Work itself assumes different forms – concentration, collaboration and coworking. Provisions for each of these work modes and preferences should be considered. What’s the best mix of space for your workforce’s needs?

  • Here’s one for the finance folks:  Determining how often you need space, and paying only for the space you need, are critical components of any organization’s hybrid work model. 



Place refers to the physical space needed in order to get work done. In today’s decentralized workplace world, that physical space might be an office, a home office, or, increasingly, a third space like a bar, coffee shop, or coworking space. An effective hybrid work model provides for a carefully curated mix of all three. It should underscore workplace choice and support culture- building and organizational alignment.


Place-related factors to consider include: 

  • Think geography. Consider where it makes the most sense for your space needs to be located, or whether a network of spaces is required to meet the needs of your team. 

  • Think space types. This was alluded to above. Different space types are conducive to different forms of work. At any given time, employees may need hot desks, private offices, and/or conference rooms to accomplish their tasks. You may need to accommodate meetings, brainstorming sessions, or client presentations.

  • Think environment. It might be health and safety protocols. It might be internet speeds or lighting preferences. What matters most to your employees? 



Process relates to the mechanics of your hybrid workplace strategy, the x’s and o’s that enable employees and their managers to maximize the benefits of a fluid, flexible hybrid model. 


Process-related factors include: 

  • Efficiency: How is your hybrid model packaged? How will your employees engage with it? What does onboarding look like?

  • Oversight: Does your plan give you the means to learn and adapt as you go – overseeing employee experience, worker permissions, individual- and team-level spends, and other critical aspects of your hybrid plan?

  • Feedback: What have you learned from your company’s hybrid experiment? Are employees engaged? How are they using your space? You can’t improve what you don’t measure. The Feedback Loop is your friend. 


Build it, then brand it


Don’t overlook the value of communication. In the amorphous and ever-changing world of our post-pandemic workplace, the language used to describe your hybrid work policy should be both memorable and crystal clear. 


This begins with the policy itself. A remote work policy is the official document describing specific guidelines employees are expected to follow when working from locations other than “the office.” A remote work policy might outline when employees are expected to work, how alternative space can be accessed, how communication between teams is expected to take place, and which meetings or company-sponsored events all employees are encouraged to attend. 


That’s not all. The nuts and bolts of the program should be clearly delineated and made accessible to all. There may be eligibility requirements that need to be outlined or productivity benchmarks that need to be conveyed. Maybe there are security measures to be taken into account, or information about specific equipment. 


Nuts and bolts aside, your workplace policy should also reiterate your organization’s commitment to flexibility, fairness, workplace choice. It might also reinforce the company’s commitment to team-building and collaborating. And it should reflect your organization’s personality, as if it flowed straight from the headwaters of its DNA. 


  • Make it intentional. Salesforce’s “Success from Anywhere” initiative is built on three straightforward categories of workplace choice: Office-flexible; Home-based; and Office-based. Such plain vanilla descriptors may not seem like much, but they serve to legitimize the company’s remote work initiative by giving it shape.

  • Make it an extension of the company. Airbnb’s “Live and work anywhere” policy sounds like, well, Airbnb. The policy language clocks in at a crisp 105 words; more importantly, it retains the flavor of the company’s brand promise to its customers, affording employees the flexibility “to live and work in 170 countries for up to 90 days a year in each location.” 

  • Make it personal. It’s your program, customize it. The project management software provider Glitch calls their version “Coffee Time”. Zapier, a project manager template producer, prefers  “Lightning Talks”. Both are examples of personalized and branded “hangouts” that encourage company members to casually stay connected. Examples of customization could include branded invite emails and sign-in landing pages to custom FAQ content, anything that can give your hybrid workplace program a “curated” feel.




Since the dawn of the modern office, workers have marched to the beat of their employers’ drums. These days, more and more are calling their own tune and it’s the employers who are having to dance. 


One way companies are striving to make their employees happier is by delivering greater workplace choice. Every business should embrace permanent remote and flex work in its own way, in accordance with its own needs, but the best policies will be clearly thought through and detailed in terms of their inner workings. They may even have a catchy name to boot.

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