Advanced search

Can I be forced to work part time?

(150 Posts)
Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:20:34

Hi all

I’ve name changed for this and I’m feeling a bit upset so please don’t flame me.

I’m am returning to work in June after having dd2. I will be returning to work on the same basis as before my mat leave - working 4 compressed days. I’ve done this for quite sometime and it works reasonably well.

I was diagnosed with anxiety after my dd2 was born and I feel like it’s not getting any better or worse sad

I spoke to my work and asked them if I could work a day from home a week. They have the technology to do this and made a big fuss about it when the technology was rolled out. I do the sort of job that doesn’t require me to be in the office every single day and could easily wfh and get more done.

My work are refusing to let me work from home on a set day. When I ask why they say “they just don’t allow it” when pushed further on this they can’t give any further reason. This is an enormous organisation- not a small firm or family company. I know several teams across this UK who do the same job as me work from home regularly.

My boss said to me that I could work from home different days of the week and I spoke with him today to say that I could try and do this and he changed his story to “oh well I can’t promise you’d get it every week..”

I’m at my wit’s end. I can’t afford to work part time and I can’t afford to pay for childcare over the 5 days. My DH works away and I’m honestly feeling like I could have a breakdown over it.

It’s 2019 and I’m trying my best to get out and work and hold my own in a time when the company I work for is all about “flexibility and diversity” it’s total nonsense.

I just feel completely drained by it all. They’ve offered an occupational health referral but I’m completely terrified and anxious that they’ll force me into part time hours.

Could this happen?

nauseous5000 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:25:55

Does it matter if it's a different day of the week each week?

BarbarianMum Thu 25-Apr-19 14:26:15

Hang on. Are you suggesting that you work from home one set day a week to save on childcare? Of course they're not going to agree to that.

What is wrong with being able to work from home for a day a week but not set days?

UCOforAC12 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:26:22

If you're working 4 compressed days you won't need childcare for 5 days?

If you want to 'work from home' whilst looking after your child YABmassivelyU and people who do that give those of us who genuinely work from home a bad name. You cannot work and look after a child.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:27:43

Sorry I should have been clearer!

I have childcare organised for the 4 days! I am not wfh to look at my children blush

churchthecat Thu 25-Apr-19 14:28:16

No workplace will allow someone to work from home whilst taking care of a child.

GemmeFatale Thu 25-Apr-19 14:28:27

Are you trying to work a four day compressed week, three in the office, one from home?

Have you made a formal flexible working request for this outlining how it will work for the business (using their own song and dance literature about WFH would help).

I’m assuming you’ll still have childcare for all working days and just hope to save on the commuting time care otherwise you are being unreasonable. Most companies won’t allow you to work while caring for your child(ren) outside of emergencies.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:28:53


They suggested I think about different days and when I went back and agreed they then changed their story to “oh now we don’t think we can offer that”

churchthecat Thu 25-Apr-19 14:29:25

I don't understand. If you're working 4 days why would you need childcare for 5?

Nicknacky Thu 25-Apr-19 14:29:48

Why do you need childcare for five days if you only work four?

CharityConundrum Thu 25-Apr-19 14:30:00

I'm not quite clear what you're asking for and why - do you think that doing one of your 4 compressed days from home would help your anxiety? Or do you want to work from home one day to look after your daughter on that day? I

NaturatintGoldenChestnut Thu 25-Apr-19 14:30:20

I'm always amazed at people who have kids and expect their employer to accommodate their childcare issues and expenses. It's something that should have been agreed to and budgeted for before having children. You're asking your employer to pay you to sit at home one day with your kids because you can't 'work from home' whist looking after 2 young children at the same time reliably.

Hollowvictory Thu 25-Apr-19 14:30:26

I work from gone one day a wek, or varies which day. What's wrong with that?

BarbarianMum Thu 25-Apr-19 14:31:24

Ok. So I guess the reason they don't want you at home for a fixed day per week is that it makes it harder to coordinate things like meetings or training when you are only ever around 3 days per week. Could you offer an element of flexibility? My dh usually works from home on Thursdays fi but will go in if necessary.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:31:46

I cannot afford 5 days childcare...sorry I seem to have been really unclear blush

They hinted that they may want me back 5 days if 4 days compressed is too muchand I just cannot afford that sad

Sorry everyone - I’m so upset and anxious I don’t think I’ve put this across properly.

I’m not a cheeky fucker - I do have all my childcare organised smile

CloudRusting Thu 25-Apr-19 14:31:53

It’s not clear to me why continuing what you did before is unworkable for you?

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Thu 25-Apr-19 14:31:59

You are entitled to ask, they are not obliged to agree. Although, if others are doing it then they must show how your case is different if you have been denied.

Do you have a union?

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:33:04


I have explicitly told them that if they need me in I’ll be there because the flexibility will work both ways.

I am so upset that when I said I’d change the wfh days every week their story suddenly changed.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Thu 25-Apr-19 14:33:30

I dont understand - why do you need 5 days child care if you are working 4 compresed days (confused!)

Mousetolioness Thu 25-Apr-19 14:34:08

Speak to occupational health. Maybe tell them the stress is caused by the company's inflexibility re working from home. Make your case to them maybe and they may recommend wfh.

I'm just guessing here and not qualified to advise in any way but that would be my thought on the matter.

If people doing the same job at other locations wfh it is shit of them not to justify why you can't in my opinion. If you work from home tho how will you manage work and the care of your child. Will you need to be working office hours or e able to work before child/children wake and after they go to sleep?

Hobbesmanc Thu 25-Apr-19 14:34:30

Hi- sorry about your anxiety.

Do all staff at your grade or role able to work a compressed week? In my business this would already be seen as a positive concession - requesting a further day from home may be seen as a further unwarranted concessions.

Also as an employer I do question if working fom home is always as effective for the employer as the employee. You think you are more productive but your employer feels otherwise.

You seem to feel that your anxiety would be alleviated by only being in the workplace three days a week- but would it or are there other issues that need to be addressed?

Please don't feel I am being harsh OP. I do sympathise.

SpeckleDust Thu 25-Apr-19 14:35:03

Can you find out if there is anyone else in the same type of job (same grade) in your organisation that does this working pattern (ie 4 compressed days, one WFH)? If this working pattern has already been accepted, I think it is more difficult for them to refuse.

Do you have HR department or access to any unions?

Have you put your application in formally (in writing) yet? There are formal procedures that your workplace must go through before refusing any working pattern

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:35:31


Yes there’s a union.

@CloudRusting I am now suffering from quite severe post partum anxiety. So while the 4 compressed days are still workable I just feel like a day from home would be far more doable. It seems to work for other areas of the business.

It appears they’re all talk about flexibility but when it comes down to it they don’t really like it.

Bringbackthestripes Thu 25-Apr-19 14:36:28

I will be returning to work on the same basis as before my mat leave - working 4 compressed days.

Sorry I’m still confused. Why do you need 5 days childcare if you are working 4 days? They have only hinted at 5 days if 4 days compressed is too much, haven’t they?

Bringbackthestripes Thu 25-Apr-19 14:36:54

X post. Sorry

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:37:23


I have everything from nursery drop offs to after school are arranged so that I can work a full day in peace without children or any distraction.

JonSlow Thu 25-Apr-19 14:39:15

But you already have a flexible arrangement - compressed hours? So it’s not as if your employer isn’t flexible. You just want more than most.

Waveysnail Thu 25-Apr-19 14:40:26

So you want to work the 4 days compressed but work one of those days from home?

CloserIAm2Fine Thu 25-Apr-19 14:40:36

I’m not sure why it’s either 3 days in the office and 1 from home or 5 days in the office tbh. Surely if you have 4 days childcare arranged then you can do 4 days in the office?

Would you have a fixed day off if you do 4 days? I do full time over 4 days and have the same midweek day off every week, for mental health reasons, I needed the break midweek and it’s not as daunting as facing 4 long days in a row.

ArnoldBee Thu 25-Apr-19 14:40:46

In my part of the world you have to demonstrate what benefit it is to the business to work in the manner you want. Why will WFH help you? Why will this benefit your employer?

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:41:15

You just want more than most.

That is not correct. As a mother trying to get back to a career and earn money, I am asking for a work life balance.

Waveysnail Thu 25-Apr-19 14:41:58

Guessing you have a set day off so.surelt you could wfh any of the other days

BritInUS1 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:42:18

You will also need childcare for any days that you work from home. You cannot expect to be paid to look after your baby while you are meant to be working

mum11970 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:42:48

Are they hinting that your 4 compressed days in work are no longer convenient for the business and they want you to do 5 normal days but you are asking to do 3 compressed days in work and a 4th compressed day at home?

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:42:59


Yeah I have a set day. I just can’t understand why make a big song and dance about wfh being introduced and then when you ask they say no. What’s the point?

JonSlow Thu 25-Apr-19 14:43:14

So of all these other teams in the UK that have one day a week from home, are they all on compressed hours too?

SpeckleDust Thu 25-Apr-19 14:43:32

I know in my previous work place, a colleague needed to be signed off with stress after returning to work following maternity leave. On return, she was allowed very flexible working patterns to help with her stress.

I'm not suggesting this is a route that should be cynically adopted.
However, in light of your diagnosed anxiety, you may find that once signed off with stress, you employers might find themselves bound to be more flexible.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:43:53


I have really clear on here that I have childcare organised for the 4 days I work.

Apricot80s Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:01

You are very unclear. Do you think that you've been unclear in communicating yourself to them.

I think your anxiety may be affecting your ability to communicate effectively.

Is there a colleague who you could discuss this issue with? They may help you clarify the issue yourself so that you can approach your boss with more effective communication.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:08

The best advice I can give you is to

(a) get the union on it
(b) shift this to Employment secion - splendid help over there.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:11


I know what you’re saying but I am so loathed to be signed off with stress in case it is held against me in some way. I also rarely take time off sick so it feels so unlike me to go off on the sick.

Sallycinnamum Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:17

She's not asking her employer to let her WFH so she can look after her DC! She's got childcare sorted.

The OP has asked is she can WFH one day a week out of her 4 compressed days to get a good work/life balance.

mum11970 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:38

If 4 compressed days is no longer convenient and they need you in the office 5 days a week, I can hardly see them agreeing to you being in the office 3 days a week instead.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:46:33


This worries me because my job requires me to be articulate....and I was until this cursed anxiety started sad

Toooldtocareanymore Thu 25-Apr-19 14:48:29

the several teams you know across the uk are they working for the same company? this isn't clear.
At moment I'm siding with employer you already have flexible working arrangements meaning your in office 4 days out of 5, if you say you want to work at home to ease your stress but they don't do this, that's a straightforward yes or no is anyone else in office doing this? if they have no one else out of office, why should they set a precedent with you? can you come up with any special circumstances. Keep in mind what they agree for you could mean everyone is now entitled to same thing, and if don't want to try work around you only being there now 3 days imagine if they have other people doing this too, it seems very fair of them to offer you 5 days shorter hours, they seem to have offered you a solution, so you don't like it don't accept it its not a threat, you are entitled to go back to doing what you were before. No need to be upset.

I'd do this and then when settled back in I'd start putting in requests to work x day at home, maybe every 2nd week, when its shown to them its workable , you get everything done, and its not disruptive to other people, you could raise this as a possibility going forwards, I think a softly softly approach might be best

SpeckleDust Thu 25-Apr-19 14:49:47

*Apricot80s Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:01
You are very unclear*

The OP has been completely clear in all the follow up posts. Maybe RTFT.

MaMaMaMySharona Thu 25-Apr-19 14:51:56

I don't see how people are finding this so confusing!

What I would do is speak to your manager and ask him to articulate the reasons to you clearly as to why you cannot work from home one day a week. There must be a reason, even if it's just that they don't want you to. Ask for examples as to why it's ok for so-and-so and not you. Get something in writing.

If the compressed 4 days is still do-able from your end and you've not had any issues flagged to you, I can't see why they'd suddenly need you to work 5.

J2Ocean Thu 25-Apr-19 14:52:32

I just can’t understand why make a big song and dance about wfh being introduced and then when you ask they say no. What’s the point?

I think the problem is that you're already on compressed days so they feel they've already allowed some flexibility.

churchthecat Thu 25-Apr-19 14:52:33

Are the people across the business working form home in a similar role to you?

In our company some people can work from home, but some teams don't allow it at all due to the nature of their jobs.

I.e technical authors can in theory do the same work from home at times, but technical support and IT need to maintain a presence in the office.

I think it very much depends on your role.

churchthecat Thu 25-Apr-19 14:53:38

But again, requests change working hours or wfh can always be made, but no workplace actually has to allow them if they do not feel that it is in the interest of the business.

They don't have to consider our work/life balance.

ABG0 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:53:38

She works 4 compressed days - i.e. 5 days hours but across 4 days.
She has childcare for those 4 days but cannot afford to pay for 5 days
She wants to work one of her 4 compressed days from home - her children will be in childcare for all 4 days.
Her firm has accommodated flexible working inc WFH for other employees
She wants to work from home on the same day each week- she is suffering from anxiety and believes this will help her.
Is this really so hard to understand?

churchthecat Thu 25-Apr-19 14:55:27

I guess you could ask them to allow it on a trial basis for 2 months to enable them to measure your productivity levels from home.

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Thu 25-Apr-19 14:55:30

Oh OP Anxiety is the pits

Have they said they want to renege on the 4 compressed days and switch you to 5 days?

Or are you wanting to work from home on one of your long days?

I am not sure what benefit/tangible difference to your mental health the working from home day brings unless you have a long commute, which you've not mentioned as a problem/ WRT anxiety (which I have lived with for 7-8 years now).

If you want it though, after maternity leave, as I understand it you are entitled to ask for flexible working - and they have to give a business case for refusing. There's a process set out for this. I would talk to HR. And also I would take them up on occupational health meeting. They can't cut your hours without you agreeing.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:55:39


Yeah people in the same role wfh.

Cloudhopping Thu 25-Apr-19 14:56:04

Hi OP, I see that you have only spoken with your boss re your requests. I would put your request into writing, and be very clear about how it would benefit you AND the business and you will then get a clear (and hopefully considered and fair) answer back. I don’t think you are asking for the world but ultimately it is up to the business.

churchthecat Thu 25-Apr-19 14:56:29

So it's just your manager that doesnt want to allow it?

In that case I would challenge it. If other people in identical roles wfh, why would they not allow you to trial it?

user1487194234 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:59:42

Have you put in a proper request to vary your hours.And if so have they formally responded.They have to give a proper reason with reference to the business.If they haven't I would push for this

As its a big company there is presumably HR etc.Your boss probably just doesn't fancy it(most wouldn't ) but if you escalate it to HR it might be a different story.

TBH everywhere I have worked this would be seen as pusing your luck.

Also sometimes,unfairly, they let people they like have whatever they want,but if your face doesn't fit,then its a different story

UCOforAC12 Thu 25-Apr-19 15:01:19

Right I think I understand now. You were previously doing 4 compressed days in the office. Now you want to do 3 in the office and 1 working from home. You'd prefer it to be the same day every week for anxiety reasons but would be prepared to do any day providing 1 a week was guaranteed?

So the flexible working arrangements are just 1 day WFH. That doesn't sound an unreasonable adjustment for your anxiety.

Springwalk Thu 25-Apr-19 15:01:20

I think your employers have already shown you great flexibility to offer you 4 compressed days. I don't see why they would then go even further and make one of those days working from home as well? Where is the benefit for them.

I am not being unkind but they don't care about your work life balance, nor do they care especially about your pp anxiety I suspect, they just want you to get on and do your job as agreed.

I would stop pressing for another change, and be glad of the 4 days. I think you are being unreasonable to expect them to accommodate this as well to be honest. What they offer to you, they have to offer to everyone, so it may not work for them at all

I suspect they think you will be cutting down the childcare costs by working from home if it is a set day, and they are not keen on paying for you to work whilst you are caring for dc

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Thu 25-Apr-19 15:02:56

I would leave anxiety out of the discussion - this is a flexible working request post parental leave and the process for this is set out in law and presumably by your company.

You also need to look at what else you can put in place to help live with and tackle the anxiety, rather than assume your desired slight changes of terms and conditions in the workplace will make the difference.

I know that is easier said than done especially as it seems to me that your situation is pretty hard-going, with a baby a young child, demanding work and a partner who works away. Realistically working less might actually help short term. Your long term mental health is much more necessary and valuable than a short term hit to the pay packet. I would take a step back and look at the situation from outside and do an options analysis. But in the meantime don't spiral into what ifs about imagined work scenarios about being forced to work 5 days or part time.

beachysandy81 Thu 25-Apr-19 15:02:57

It sounds like you can work from home on one day a week - just not a set day. They can't make you work 5 days if you are contracted to work 4. You have childcare set up for 4.

Everything is sorted, just not a set day at home yet. Once you start back you will get a better feel for what's going on and can wear them down to a set day at home. It might make it easier not been set as if you have home repair or delivery, or an appointment it might be easier to push for a certain day that suits you that particular week.

BuzzPeakWankBobbly Thu 25-Apr-19 15:04:28

OP, you are really unclear - calm down and take a deep breath.

What days do you want?
Which of them you want to wfh?
What childcare have you arranged for what days?
How the PP anxiety will be lessened if you are WFH (as child will be elsewhere anyway)?
What benefit is this to your employer?

TokyoSushi Thu 25-Apr-19 15:05:45

Oh Op, you sound really upset.

I think the problem is that you already really have your flexible working request with the compressed hours. My guess would be that they didn't really want you to do the compressed hours but they had to offer it due to, well, flexible working. Now, in their eyes, I'd imagine that they're seeing that you've already got something I suspect that most people don't with the compressed hours and that now you're asking for more.

Yes, I know that you're working loger days but what they probably see is that you want to work 3 days in the office and one from home for a full-time wage.

You might have to escalate it to HR to see if they can assist but you might have to accept that it won't happen.

Is the working from home to help with your anxiety, I'm not sure if that could come under some sort of reasonable adjustment?

BuzzPeakWankBobbly Thu 25-Apr-19 15:06:17

(Oh sorry - I didn't refresh the thread before posting - thanks to pp for clarifying the situation. Still confused as to the anxiety bit though)

MissMatchedClaws Thu 25-Apr-19 15:06:19

I read something recently (might even have been on here) saying that asking to trial something can work better than asking for a set-in-stone change.

Then if it's going OK, extend the trial for another few months and so on, until it's your norm and no one is fussed when you ask to make it permanent.

Obvs not going to work if your manager is dead set against it, but might allow the company wiggle room to either change or agree if they are concerned that 3 days in the office just isn't enough?

flowery Thu 25-Apr-19 15:12:35

I'm unclear why you are worried they might 'force' you to go part time OP? You've said they've refused the working from home bit, and have also said they might want you to do 5 days if 4 compressed is "too much" (too much in what sense?). That doesn't seem to tally with a concern they might force you to reduce your hours altogether?

Honeydukes92 Thu 25-Apr-19 15:19:34


I work for a large multinat and know a reasonable amount about flexiworking - nationwide.

🙄 It’s a fantastic concept and they do make a song and dance about rolling it out but in reality ‘WFH’ is still in its infancy and there are plenty of ‘old school’ managers, who don’t love it, hanging around.

Even ‘flexi friendly’ managers are unlikely to agree to full WFH days for someone who they perceive as ‘struggling’ at home. (I’ve seen this is practise multiple times). It often applies to those struggling with mental health, or returning from Mat leave. (Unfair but seen as nobody is entitled to WFH it’s not discrimination - legally)

Basically, from what you’re describing, right or wrongly, they’re dubious of how committed you are to coming back to work and how capable you are of ‘keeping it together’ and working a day from home given all else you have going on. 🙄

Flexible working is a priveledge and not a right- something they often forget to mention whilst singing it’s praises and leading a ‘flexible working’ marching band around the office to promote it.

Once they agree to WFH on a regular basis it’s very hard for them to pull the reigns back in! I think the smartest thing you could do is to forget about asking for an ‘agreement’ about you wfh as they’re not going to agree to anything right now.
I’d ask if you could ‘trial’ it for a couple of weeks and see how it goes? Whichever day is best for them you’ll work from home and after 3/4 weeks they can see what they think.

Flexible working goes both ways, so saying ‘I want an agreement that I can wfh this day each week’- isn’t ‘flexible’ for your employer. 🙈

stucknoue Thu 25-Apr-19 15:19:38

You are already working 4 compressed days and they have said you can work from home one of these days each week if business conditions allow. I'm not sure what more you want. Working from home doesn't negate the need for childcare, that's what every employer fears - working from home people who don't clock the appropriate hours.

goodwinter Thu 25-Apr-19 15:19:57

I'm surprised by some of these responses. I don't think what the OP is asking for is unreasonable at all. There is a massive push for work/life balance, mental health awareness, flexibility etc across a lot of companies recently, and for good reason.

A PP asked how OP working from home once a week would benefit the company. I don't think that's the right angle - rather, would it be at any detriment to the company? If not, then why wouldn't they say yes - even on a trial basis?

I don't think it's much of a slippery slope either - if OP has this granted and suddenly everyone wants to work from home once a week, well, so what? If there's a solid business reason, then fine, but otherwise why not show a bit of goodwill to your employees?

Springwalk Thu 25-Apr-19 15:24:01

May I also add that it is not surprising that you are feeling anxious given the lack of support you have in terms of dh being present and able to help with dc and home, you have aworking four days is not a walk in the park, it is obviously very tiring on top of what is already a very demanding period in your life.

Is it even doable to have a full time job given your dh works away from home, and you don't seem to have a support network around you?

I don't have anxiety, but I would feel very anxious in the situation you have described.

Cbatothinkofaname Thu 25-Apr-19 15:24:09

I don’t understand where part time comes in.

I think I have this right: you are paid to work full time, but have previously made a flexible working request to compress that role into 4 days. You now want to work 1 of those days from home, which they seemed to be open to, but couldn’t guarantee it would be the same fixed day?

You can request, but to me it looks as though they’ve already been quite flexible, and I suspect they want flexibility back over the work from home day because of any meetings, or other people out of the office on leave where it would be better to have you in the office. If they change your contract to the same fixed day at home then they’re restricting themselves too much.

On the face of it, it seems you have a pretty good deal at the moment. You can request what you want further, but it does sound as though you could end up shouting yourself in the foot as they obviously have some doubts about the compressed hours

thecatsthecats Thu 25-Apr-19 15:24:33

I work for an organization offering a lot of flexibility, and it DOES cause us issues to be too flexible. We were just looking at setting a meeting date, and the next time that everyone would standardly be working in the same office is June!

However, I do understand what you say about anxiety. I gain 1.5h back wfh. I use half an hour to exercise half an hour to sleep, and half an hour to catch up on household stuff. It refreshes me in the middle of the week, and reduces my out of work burdens. However I always have to push people to remember that I am very happy to change my day if needed!

I do understand what they are saying about the compression being perhaps too much also though - you become unproductive after a certain number of hours, especially with anxiety.

Would it perhaps work better to have your day off in the middle of the week to recharge?

Cbatothinkofaname Thu 25-Apr-19 15:24:56

Shooting not shouting

BuzzPeakWankBobbly Thu 25-Apr-19 15:25:35

There is a massive push for work/life balance, mental health awareness, flexibility etc across a lot of companies recently, and for good reason.

Unfortunately for a lot of companies it seems to be more lip service than actual reality. You only have to read all the threads on MN about genuinely awful companies to see.

haverhill Thu 25-Apr-19 15:27:50

Bless you OP, anxiety is crushing and awful.
Sorry if you've already mentioned this, but are you getting any help for it? I started Sertraline for dreadful anxiety and insomnia about 4 months ago and it has been incredible.

AlexaAmbidextra Thu 25-Apr-19 15:30:21

It might make it easier not been set as if you have home repair or delivery, or an appointment it might be easier to push for a certain day that suits you that particular week.

Oh is this what ‘working from home’ means? No wonder some employers are reluctant.

FriarTuck Thu 25-Apr-19 15:35:15

I wonder if it was your initial reluctance to vary the day working from home and that's made them think that you want it for childcare reasons (even though you don't) and hence why they're not keen.

DarlingNikita Thu 25-Apr-19 15:35:26

Why are people being such twats about the OP wanting a set day? confused

I've worked with plenty of people who have designated WFH days that are the same each week. If anything, it's easier to manage as people know what days to arrange deadlines, meetings etc for.

DonkeyHohtay Thu 25-Apr-19 15:35:54

OP your title doesn't make sense - why are you thinking you are being forced part time?

At present you have a full time job over 4 days. That's not part time.

You've asked for one of those days at home. That wouldn't be part time either.

Work has said no to a fixed day at home, possibility of different days each week depending on how it goes. That's not part time either.

There has been no suggestion you drop a day. Or go back to working 5 days. All work has said is that they don't think they can offer any more flexibility than you currently have.

So why are you "being forced to work part time"?

HappilyHarridan Thu 25-Apr-19 15:38:20

They can’t force you to go part time, but they could review your current arrangement and try to put you back on 5 days a week. You would have arguments against that though, you should definitely be phoning your union and getting them involved.

Cbatothinkofaname Thu 25-Apr-19 15:38:42


‘Why are people being such twats about the OP wanting a set day?’

Or maybe, rather than being twats, some people are aware that in some workplaces, lack of flexibility could impact negatively for meetings etc. Not everyone works in the same office as you, where clearly it’s no problem.

DarlingNikita Thu 25-Apr-19 15:40:11

Cba, as it happens, I no longer work in an office, although I did enjoy the lazy assumption.

In SOME workplaces, sure, lack of flexibility could be a problem. Point is that the OP says in hers there IS generally flexibility. And they can't seem to come up with a good reason as to why they can't offer her a set day.

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Thu 25-Apr-19 15:44:35

The business might think that compressed hours is not compatible with working from home.

I can see that from a perspective of trying to address anxiety, fixed days is better, even if you remain flexible once a pattern is established.

But I still don't see that wfh one day a week would make much impact on alleviating what is overall quite an anxiety-inducing set up. Are you getting any help for the anxiety at all? Can you take longer mat leave?

RomanyQueen1 Thu 25-Apr-19 15:46:13

All you can do is look for another job. I sympathise it's not easy getting the hours you want. have to agree with a pp though it's not up to your employer to be flexible because you have kids.

Ginseng1 Thu 25-Apr-19 15:47:51

I think you sound very stressed about it all it might not be so bad once you go sounds like your company do wfm n your job allows it. Its not an unreasonable request. Unfortunately your boss is old school. accept the varying days n once you back into the swing of it you can stick to the same day most weeks. Surely it's better for your colleagues you stick same day as you/they know well in advance when they can see you face to face. I work from home all the time (just do a 3 day week) my mgr & all my team in different country now. When I went part time (my request) and moved 2 hours from the office to wfh my mgr approved it but warned (unofficially) I'd b a target for redundancy. That was 7 years ago n he was made redundant a year later. If you produce good work & you are happier in yourself then the company benefits & will flex.

Scrumptiousbears Thu 25-Apr-19 15:48:01

If it's a big company surely they have a policy in place that sets out WLB? You have to officially apply and they either accept or reject but give you a business reason why they cannot facilitate it.

Cbatothinkofaname Thu 25-Apr-19 15:48:33

I think there’s a subtext here of them not being happy with the compressed hours, as they’ve already raised the issue of it being ‘too much.’ So perhaps it’s not working well for them, and they feel they’re not getting the productivity they should for a full time role. Of course this should all be relayed to you properly through performance reviews.
But that’s what it sounds like

If they are generally a flexible organisation and this isn’t a problem for other workers, why would they raise it as an issue with you? Companies tend to value good workers and aren’t going to obstruct someone for the sake of it. And I still don’t get the issue of part time?

havingtochangeusernameagain Thu 25-Apr-19 15:50:30

I'm surprised by some of these responses. I don't think what the OP is asking for is unreasonable at all. There is a massive push for work/life balance, mental health awareness, flexibility etc across a lot of companies recently, and for good reason

This. Working your hours over 4 days a week, and having one of those days at home seems sensible enough to me. I don't think compressed hours is that massive a concession from an employer. A pp mentioned the difficulty of finding meeting dates and nobody being in the same place at the same time until June but this can be resolved by requiring everyone to be in the office on the same day every week or once a fortnight or once a month or whatever so you do always have a day when you can have meetings.

I agree with the people who've suggested asking to trial it.

converseandjeans Thu 25-Apr-19 15:50:46

I think the issue they have is that they have already been flexible in allowing you to work 4 days and get full pay. So to ask to WFH for the 4th day does seem a bit much.
I would suggest you either stick with the 4 days for the moment & prove you're focused on doing a FT job - or accept that it is really hard for both parents to be FT if one parent is way with work & the other one is left to do stuff in the week with 2 little ones.
Perhaps they don't want to set a precedent? 3 days on site for FT pay does seem like it swings in your favour rather than theirs.
I had the problem the other way round - I was told I wasn't allowed to go PT and only got PT as someone was retiring.
Honestly if you're feeling anxious, maybe going PT would be the answer??

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Thu 25-Apr-19 15:54:35

"it's not up to your employer to be flexible because you have kids."

Actually, it is. You are legally entitled to make a flexible working request on the basis of parenting. And an employer must consider this properly and make a business case if they refuse it.

Any enlightened employer will have a proper discussion with the employee to work out how to make things work. OP's employer sounds tbh like they are up for discussing it and have already accommodated compressed hours for her and wfh for others.

SD1978 Thu 25-Apr-19 15:55:03

So theoretically- they will accomodate one day a week, out of the 4, from home. But not a set day, it will change weekly, and if it can't be offered for a specific week, wouldn't be available? If you can get that in writing, surely it's theoretically mostly what you're after? One day at home per week if workload allows? However I would have it confirmed. You can apply to HR for altered work conditions, and if it benefits the company, it can be approved. If they are concerned that you can't do the job for that Le goth of time from home and need to be office based then there is t much you can do about that. Whilst they should try to accomodate you, they are only obliged to offer you back the same job you took maternity leave from

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 25-Apr-19 15:56:38

They hinted that they may want me back 5 days if 4 days compressed is too much and I just cannot afford that

I have explicitly told them that if they need me in I’ll be there because the flexibility will work both ways

Since they're entitled to prioritise business needs when considering requests, I'm not sure how these two statements work together? Have they perhaps got the impression that, in reality, the giving would all be coming from them?

You mentioned work life balance and claimed their commitment to flexibility is "nonsense", but they've already shown willing by allowing compressed hours. Maybe they feel this is one "ask" too many, or perhaps experience has shown such requests are too often motivated by a wish for cheaper childcare - even where the employee says this has been taken care of?

Yorkshirelady Thu 25-Apr-19 15:58:21

Please try not to get upset with what some people are saying on here! I hope you're not feeling too overwhelmed by all of this...I think speaking to Occupational Health would be a good start because you can explain your situation and together you can find a way forward where they get to retain an employee and you get to have a good work / life balance. I hope you are able to find a solution. I myself am just about to return to work on full time hours and I am a little anxious about it...but I'm sure it'll work out as long as you are willing to be flexible and are willing to listen to your employer's business case for the hours that they need you to work / be in the office.

J2Ocean Thu 25-Apr-19 16:00:45

I would suggest you either stick with the 4 days for the moment & prove you're focused on doing a FT job - or accept that it is really hard for both parents to be FT if one parent is way with work & the other one is left to do stuff in the week with 2 little ones.

I agree with this. Your set up sounds very stressful even without the anxiety diagnosis. Is your husband not able to work flexibly at all?

LemonTT Thu 25-Apr-19 16:01:43

The WFH offer is relatively simple to understand they want her to work around her office commitment rather than have a fixed day, like Friday. This means that if they organise training or a meeting she must be at, then she comes in. She can’t say no that’s my WFH day.

This is referred to as agile working. Flexible working is usually a fixed arrangement agreed in advance and which is part of terms and conditions. Then you can say no I’m not coming in.

My employer does this and expects us to wfh one or two days a week to free up desks. S9metimes you are in all week. Other times you can wfh for 2+ days. Depending on my projects I can usually organise it so I wfh almost all Fridays. But I am quite covert about making that happen although I’m sure some people rumble me.

It can be pretty difficult to get some people to understand the difference and quite annoying that some people expect to be at home no matter what.

It probably doesn’t help that many people are suspicious of compressed hours working from home. Well compressed hours in general if other colleagues put in the extra time anyway.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 25-Apr-19 16:03:01

OP's employer ... have already accommodated compressed hours for her and wfh for others

But isn't that just the point? They've shown their commitment to flexibility by arranging compressed hours for some and WFH for others, but OP now wants both

Maybe for this particular business it's just too much?

DarlingNikita Thu 25-Apr-19 16:03:52

they have already been flexible in allowing you to work 4 days and get full pay.

Not that flexible. She's on full pay because she works full-time! It's just compressed hours that they're 'allowing' her to do.

Meandmetoo Thu 25-Apr-19 16:04:16

Op you say others wfh, do they also have children or caring responsibilities?
Have you done the request via statutory route eg outlined request, business impact, how that could be mitigated etc?
Have they responded (meeting etc) giving one of the set reasons allowed for refusal?
The fact that others already wfh might be the issue here if one more person doing so would detrimentally impact the business

SpeckleDust Thu 25-Apr-19 16:04:52

My boss said to me that I could work from home different days of the week and I spoke with him today to say that I could try and do this and he changed his story to “oh well I can’t promise you’d get it every week..”

I’ve just re-read you OP and this stood out.

Maybe when you speak to them again, be as positive as possible and suggest trialling it short term. Maybe you could try WFH every 2 weeks to see how it goes.

If they are worried that you might be attempting to have your DC’s at home on your WFH days, this might alleviate that concern for them.

And say you could come into work on your WFH day at short notice if required (it’s not like you could do this if you had dcs at home grin)

Calledyoulastnightfromglasgow Thu 25-Apr-19 16:06:43

I’m confused by your posts!

So you do compressed hours over 4 days. You want to WFH one of those days due to anxiety?

Is that right?

Is there a company policy on flexible working?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »