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Flexible Working - full time with 2 days at home

(17 Posts)
washingwomen Mon 01-Aug-11 09:38:02

Was wondering if anyone can help? I am applying for flexible working, after my maternity leave. I wish to go back full-time but work from home 2 days a week. The infrastructure is in place to allow me to do this, I can do my job from anywhere in the world :-).

When I emailed my bosses to let them know that was my plan I was emailed back to say "I do not think home working is really an option for this department". They havent even seen my application! Members of other departments in the firm work from home no problems.

Just wondering what objections anyone else in the same boat experienced?

Any advice would be appreciated x

Katiebeau Mon 01-Aug-11 09:42:10

It depends on if you intend to have baby looked after. WFH does not negate the need for alternative childcare. I WFH full time when not occassionally travelling and it is impossible to work and have the baby/child at home, you simply cannot give your employer a focussed days work.

If you did intend to have alternative childcare and others work from home they would need concrete reasons why your job is different. In my old company it was the difference between managing people or not. If you had direct reports you couldn't regularly work from home.

annh Mon 01-Aug-11 11:04:30

Have you made it clear to them in your email that you have childcare in place for the days that you are at home? If not, their response is probably a knee-jerk reaction to what you seem to be presenting as a done deal. Go ahead and submit your formal application and they will have to provide a proper response to you. If there are genuine reasons why it is more difficult to work from home in your particular area, make sure you cover that in your application and present a solution to any problems that might arise.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 01-Aug-11 11:58:10

"When I emailed my bosses to let them know that was my plan" - sounds like you presented it as "I will be doing this but i'm letting you know".

Did you work from home prior to maternity? Have you got childcare outside the home in place? Can you still take calls etc, access files, talk to other staff from home?

moaningmurtle Mon 01-Aug-11 12:03:34

If you have a child under 6 then the company has to access and look at your request for home working. If they decide not to grant it to you then they have to give you a valid business reason as to why - the same process as if you'd requested part-time grin hope this helps and good luck.

moaningmurtle Mon 01-Aug-11 12:05:14

As others have said, you can't work from home and look after your child. My child still goes to the childminder when I work from home. Working from home just means I can drop her off and collect her earlier as I don't have the travelling to take into consideration.

You do need to formally request it though and they don't 'have' to grant it to you. But if they don't they do need to give you a valid reason as to why.

washingwomen Mon 01-Aug-11 17:59:29

Hi all, thanks for all your responses.

Yes I did make it clear that my son would not be at home with me. He will be looked after by his grandparents. I certainly couldnt work from home and look after him :-)

I was just letting them know that was my intention, to apply in writing, as I knew they would not agree with informal discussions.

I have been with the company for over 10 years. I always work from home when work is needed to be done out of hours or at weekends. I deal with all our global offices via email and phone now anyway and that is a large part of my job.

I have been told off the record that it wouldnt work as one reason would be it wouldnt be fair on other team members. I have spoken with my team members and they are all behind me! I also work in a male dominated environment so all women that have applied to work part-time before me have had a fight on their hands. They just dont like flexible working in my deparment yet other departments there is no issue.

Unfortunately the company I work for are law firm so I think if they dont want it to happen then they will find any reason. :-( I cannot think of one valid business reason though.

Thanks again all, I will put in my application the impact it is likely to have and solutions to any negative impacts. There are also positive impacts too :-)

glimmer Mon 01-Aug-11 20:50:09

Hi Washing. I am in a similar position. Our policy states that this is a possibility if the supervisor agrees. Some supervisor do, some don't and there is no general rules. In my case, the division I am most rooted in/ most appreciates me sais it's not possible, while the other one sais: sure let's try and see.
Sorry not much advice here, just another story.

RibenaBerry Mon 01-Aug-11 21:02:22

Are you a lawyer, or something else within the firm?

Assuming you are a lawyer, think about things like what client files/documents you commonly deal with, who you deal with, etc. The legitimate concerns of law firms often include: keeping files updated and emails filed (easy if you have electronic files, less so if you are still paper), managing trainees, seamless service for clients by phone, dealing with any paperwork (e.g. can be hard with property if you need to deal with large plans that you can't easily print out at home).

Are there any reasons you can think of how your department is different from others with regards to any of that?

washingwomen Tue 02-Aug-11 08:29:40

No I am not a lawyer. I work in IT. I do "suppor"t the firm, but this support is not client facing, un-like other teams, ie there are no occassions when I need to meet face to face with anyone apart from the odd meeting which I have said in my application I can come into the office for if essential. We are a global firm and therefore video and phone conferencing is already widely used.

If I was a lawyer it probably wouldnt be an issue lots of fee-earners that already work from home!

wearenotinkansas Wed 03-Aug-11 18:36:04

If its a law firm then they are probably just trying it on. Put in a formal request, making it clear that you have alternative childcare arrangements - and why it should all work ok. Doesn't sound as though they will be able to mount a business case to refuse the request.

Issy Wed 03-Aug-11 18:52:26

I'm an in-house lawyer and work two days a week (approximately) from home. Like you I have a global role and a large chunk of my work involves people who are not located in the same office as me.

Two points that help whenever this has been raised:

1. If I'm at home I can be more flexible, taking calls with Beijing at 8 am and New York at 8pm (good for my employer) and maybe having an extended lunch-break (good for me).

2. I don't have fixed days when I work from home and I treat home-working as a privilege not a right. I do try to group meetings so that I can have three days in the office and two days at home, but if something comes up, I'll shift my home-working days or just work four or even five days in the office. In some ways, by continuously changing my working pattern, it's not so obvious that I'm home-working.

I have to admit that it is hugely helpful that my boss has always been located in the US!

northerngirl41 Thu 04-Aug-11 11:38:46

Although you can probably work from home and do your job perfectly well, there is probably an element of work which gets done round the office by whoever is there... So for example, you might cover someone else's phone or open the post or check that MrB on Floor 7 has actually switched his screen on or go twiddle some knobs on the server (you can tell I'm not an IT professional!!)

Those jobs would therefore fall to the other team members when you aren't there. Hence making it unfair on them.

Question: Does flexible working get extended to ALL employees, not just parents? If not, could you suggest this and offer to cover some of the more unpopoular days in the office (e.g. midweek)

Lotkinsgonecurly Thu 04-Aug-11 11:44:09

Surely working from home is essentially a cost cutting exercise. When I worked f /t we had to work from home one day a week as the company moved to smaller offices with not enough desks for everyone, we hot desked which was fine worked for everyone. Is there anyway it would reduce costs for your company for you and others to maybe be at home some of the time?

noviceoftheday Thu 04-Aug-11 12:11:54

Am currently on maternity leave but over the last year I have worked FT with 2 days at home. Our set up means my home phone is "logged on" so if you dial work it comes straight through to me, if I don't pick up, it reverts to PA as normal. I am on instant message as usual and on emails as usual. I dial into the network and its no different to being in office. Dd was here but with nanny and I didn't get disturbed while working. It did mean that I got to spend an extra 2 hours a day with her as I didn't have to travel to work and we had lunch together. I have allowed 3 of my staff who also have babies to do the same thing so its not uncommon.

When I have had a flexi working application, I normally review it and then meet with the person for half an hour with HC manager in attendance to discuss the practicalities of how its going to work. I personally rarely turn one down but I do always give a 3 month trial period with meeting monthly in that period. Before each meeting I get my HC manager to collect some feedback from the team re how that individuals flexi working is impacting them. My rule is that if it doesn't negatively impact on anyone then I am all for it.

HTH

washingwomen Thu 04-Aug-11 21:24:43

wish I worked for you noviceoftheday :-)

Flexible working is offered to all employees. I have prepared my application so will just have to wait and see now how they turn "we dont like home working" into a legitimate business reason!

noviceoftheday Thu 04-Aug-11 22:03:27

Thank you smile I think anyone in a senior position (but particularly women) should do what they can to facilitate women staying in their organisation after they have had children. With the advent of technology, this is now possible more than ever so its a subject on which I am very passionate.

I normally advise the applicant to give a lot of thought as to how it is going to work in practice as I will be very challenging during our meeting. In response, each time I have had the person coming to the meeting having fully thought through the challenges I might raise and have an answer ready. This not only helps me in ensuring I am fair to everyone but importantly it means that the applicant has really thought it through. My advice to you would be to do the same, think of the arguments they can come up with and have a ready answer. If they don't do it, also offer the trial period with monthly review. Also be very clear as to what the law says and be confident in your meeting.

Hope it works out for you!

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