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If you can work from home, can you?

(35 Posts)
doireallyneedaname Tue 06-Oct-20 13:37:19

.... if your boss wants everyone in the office? Legally speaking?

My boss had some people working from home but has now decided he wants everyone back in the office. Masks are not allowed (it’s a telephone based role) and the job CAN be done from home. I heard they are saving that generally people are more “productive” in the office.

Legally speaking, since I can do my job from home, would I have an argument to be able to do so?

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AlexaShutUp Tue 06-Oct-20 13:43:50

I don't think so, because the guidance says you should wfh if you can do so effectively. I think this gives employers an argument that enables them to insist that you go to the office if they are that way inclined. It's a shame, because so many jobs can be done at home perfectly well, but some employers seem to struggle to trust their staff

doireallyneedaname Tue 06-Oct-20 13:50:00

I thought as much. I’m still curious as to what would happen if someone was to challenge it though, after all surely the employer would have to prove that the job Could not be done effectively from home... which it can.

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Racoonworld Tue 06-Oct-20 13:52:07

unfortunately not, it's still up to companies to decide what to do. The message of work from home if you can is a suggestion, not law, and companies are within their right to decide.

FunnyInjury Tue 06-Oct-20 13:57:51

Surely they can just legally make the wfh position redundant though if there is a legal argument as you've suggested?

I'd say the workplace (ie office based rather than wfh) means there is enough of a difference to make them separate positions if you pushed your stance hard enough and threatened legal action iykwim.

FunnyInjury Tue 06-Oct-20 14:00:06

I'd also add that just because some employees may work from home efficiently, that it doesn't mean the company is necessarily working efficiently.

Kandinsko Tue 06-Oct-20 14:00:37

I hope someone does challenge an employer over this. My partner was required to go back into work FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON, other than that one of the director’s sort of preferred it that way because they regard their employees as naughty children. Two members of staff have since tested positive for COVID and everyone’s back to working from home. Being in the office when you can WFH puts people’s health in jeopardy in a completely unacceptable way. This should not be something that employers can decide at will.

doireallyneedaname Tue 06-Oct-20 14:02:29

I agree. Same situation with my work.

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CakeGirl2020 Tue 06-Oct-20 14:06:01

You can’t work from home without works permission, No. They are paying your wage so they decide where you work.

Nobody can simply decide they are working from home, without the companies permission.

Rhubardandcustard Tue 06-Oct-20 14:06:42

Nope. Everyone back in office and nobody feels up to challenging the managements decision. They are even doing hot desking and that’s not being managed properly either no cleaning of desks no where to put your work items so others can’t use them. I feel it’s just a matter of time before one of us catches Covid and everyone has to go back to working from home for two weeks. They are burying their heads in the sand - what their plan is if everyone gets too ill to work at once - heaven knows 🙄

blueberrypie0112 Tue 06-Oct-20 14:10:16

My husband have been working at home since March. It is very stressful for him because being online make him think people are more frustrated than they actually are. So he get so stressed until he goes in a meeting and can see people’s emotions. He also get stressed because he can’t go up to people to ask a question like he used to. It’s nice to be home but his mental stress level is lower when he is out there interacting with people.

doireallyneedaname Tue 06-Oct-20 14:12:15

It’s worth mentioning a lot of huge corporations have advised staff they’ll be working from home until next year. That’s how it should be done!

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Fuftyfuff Tue 06-Oct-20 14:33:13

My employment contract states that my usual place of work is [office address]. I assume that I am required to work at that location unless my employer decides otherwise.

I work for a large company and have seen lots of permanent WFH requests denied over time as the line manager / director doesn't believe that is the best / most effective way for the job to be done for whatever reason. Being allowed to WFH has always been on an exceptions basis and granted as a perk/privilege, not a right.

That said we have all been told no need to go to the office until further notice (likely 2021) thank goodness...I've only been in one day since March for a specific reason.

doireallyneedaname Tue 06-Oct-20 14:43:05

I suspect the decision will be taken away from owners very soon and those who can work from home will be asked to, legally.

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Mindymomo Tue 06-Oct-20 14:44:08

My sons office has really done everything possible to make it as safe as they can, moved desks, got screens, different toilets and kitchen areas, hand sanitisers, one way systems, but 10 out of 40 are still not back in. They won’t even go in and see how it is and probably won’t now the government has asked people to WFH if possible.

FunnyInjury Tue 06-Oct-20 16:38:32

I honestly doubt it OP unless the government are also going to offer to pay for it 🤷‍♀️
At the moment I dont see how employers can be forced to pay for a workforce that they do not require (ie a wfh workforce).
They can simply lay people off who refuse to come in to do the job they are being paid for.

StartingGrid Tue 06-Oct-20 16:42:59

Its guidance, not law... You could always go get a job at one of those huge corporations instead.

Kandinsko Tue 06-Oct-20 17:06:40


It’s not about furloughing, it’s a separate issue.

The OP is talking about workers who are still working full time for companies where it is business as usual. And who are able to fulfil their duties just as well from home as from some office location.

The government has stated that if you can work from home you should. You know, because of the pandemic.

Yet some companies are asking employees to put themselves in harms way completely unnecessarily.

The question is, why?

TheGreatWave Tue 06-Oct-20 17:16:27

We aren't allowed either, the office is covid secure whatever that is supposed to mean and therefore there is no reason for us not to be in. There isn't even the option of some part time.

Bocadilla Tue 06-Oct-20 17:50:02

Sorry OP it’s wishful thinking on your part. The temporary Covid related guidance doesn’t legally replace the terms of your contract. Check to see what is under the location clause of your employment contract. If it states office and that’s where you are required to be, then that’s where you need to go.

Sorryusernamealreadyexists Tue 06-Oct-20 17:57:06

Ours is allowing people to wfh if they want to, if they are vulnerable or has asked them due to space.

If the staff aren’t working effectively then that needs to be broached by management as to why not.

I would rather not wfh as I’d hate being stuck in my house all day and every evening. I’d go stir crazy I think :/

BookSkark Tue 06-Oct-20 18:02:44

The problem is that while you may be able to complete your tasks at home, your job is probably about much more than that - working in teams, informally learning from each other - and none of that happens as effectively when you're remote.

I work for one of those huge corporations you refer to, and I can honestly say that it isn't working - productivity is down, and everything is taking so much longer to do because you can't just lean over a desk and offer an opinion. Onboarding new team members is incredibly difficult because they can't just pick up things from the people around them. People are tired of Zoom etc. so they're not just talking as much, and engagement is down as a result. We're spending a lot of time trying to work out what the "new normal' looks like, and it's clear that it needs people to be co-located to work properly, even if that's not every day.

doireallyneedaname Tue 06-Oct-20 20:23:34

This “office is Covid secure” rubbish drives me up the wall. An office cannot be “Covid secure” because the virus is airborne. Also, staff don’t follow social distancing in offices and most staff don’t wear masks as it’s not “madatory”... yet.

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HRH18 Tue 06-Oct-20 20:41:42

Need to be careful with this, particularly if some are in and some not. I know from sitting on Management calls that those who are choosing to go in are being seen in a much better light than those who have been reluctant to go back. Two people (out of 12) have been made redundant and both were from the don’t want to go back in camp. My firm are very much from the you can only work effectively from the office due to printing requirement etc. Some staff haven’t helped themselves though. One answered the phone from the shops at 2.30pm in the afternoon when they should be working (and stupidly admitted it)

WhiteChocTwix Tue 06-Oct-20 20:58:57

I've finally secured a new role, going back to work next week, one week training in the office then WFH. Bring it on. Spent last week in a temp role in the office, no masks, no distancing, no nothing. 🙄 The businesses that trust their staff to diversify and treat them like adults will thrive.

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