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Can my employer enforce a blanket ban on home working?

(13 Posts)
maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 20:20:54

I work for a large company that does allow home working. However some have spolit it by assuming that if they work at home they can skimp on childcare completely and fit in work alongside their children. There were children crying and answering the phone etc etc.

So, I am wondering if you actually sign up to the fact that childcare will be in place. That is one of the main things that a company will have concerns about. I bet you will find that of the 7 there are at least a couple who think childcare wont be necessary on those days.

Andro Sat 16-Feb-13 15:27:43

Unfortunately OP, what works well for one person, doesn't necessarily work well for a large group of people. Assuming that all 7 wanted the same setup as you have, I can see his/her point about office cover (depending on how many people there are in your team) - s/he may well be thinking that any office based tasks will fall in unfair proportion on those who don't have flexible arrangements if only for ease of continuity.

MakeTeaNotWar Sat 16-Feb-13 14:33:17

Thank you very much for your replies. I think it's a great suggestion that we approach this collectively and collaborate on how it could work.

Be assured there absolutely will be childcare in place, I can barely get dressed in the morning when my two are there, let alone put in a full day's work.

My manager had already set precedent by granting this arrangement to me after I returned from mat leave 2 years ago - I work 4 days a week with 3 in the office and 1 day from home. The arrangement has worked well and there has never been any issue from management, clients or colleagues. However now that we've suddenly had a baby boom on my team, my colleagues feel entitled to the same arrangement but management have said a flat out no on the grounds that we would be too thin on the ground. This seems unfair when it has worked well in my case and isn't really a business reason.

I do agree though that on at least one day a week, we should all be present.

drjohnsonscat Sat 16-Feb-13 12:20:42

I'm an employer and we are very flexible and have some members of staff who work at home at least one day per week. I would be furious if I thought they didn't have child care on those days. They do though and the benefit is entirely theirs in that they save 3 hrs per day in travel. I think your employer has every right to insist you work in the office. If you want to persuade them you'll have to show them that it will benefit them in some way to compensate for the fact that you would be less available for meetings etc.

DeafLeopard Sat 16-Feb-13 12:00:39

Agree with fenouille - I can work from home as mine are school age, but when I tried it when they were younger I really did need childcare in place. Nothing worse than a video conference interrupted by a toddler.

Fenouille Sat 16-Feb-13 12:00:16

Just noticed you didn't say your boss was a he <feminism fail>

I also mean I wouldn't blame her/him for refusing the requests if the expectation is for you all to work from home while children are also at home.

Hope that makes a bit more sense.

Fenouille Sat 16-Feb-13 11:51:31

We're currently having this debate where I work. You don't say whether the requests for flexible working are so that you and your colleagues can save on childcare costs, but having seen a large number of women at my work comment along the lines of, "Working from home would be ace as I won't need childcare for those days," makes me think your boss is expecting that from your colleagues. And I wouldn't blame him, I don't know how anybody can get anything done with a young child in the house or maybe that's just my son

CMOTDibbler Sat 16-Feb-13 11:05:38

I think that as there are so many of you that want to change your hours, it does need to be talked about collectively - and some ground rules set. For instance, you all need to agree that you will have child care in place for all your working hours, will be available to come into the office if necessary, that between you you ensure that the core hours are covered physically etc. Maybe sort it out so that all of you are physically present one day a week.

Then show your manager what you have drawn up and ask if they will reconsider.

EATmum Sat 16-Feb-13 10:58:57

I work in an organisation which has the majority of staff working flexible arrangements, all different, and it has huge benefits and huge disadvantages too. The big issues are communication and control, and those are the ones you'll need to convince your manager can be overcome. I would get together with those other mums who want to work more flexibly, and come up with a plan, and some suggestions about how you can overcome the perceived problems. Then suggest it is piloted for say 6 months, after which the mgmt can make a decision about whether it has worked, and only after that will a permanent arrangement be agreed.

If they agree to a pilot, you have a great opportunity to show them how it could be. But please remember that they will be looking at the benefits/risks to the business, not your home situations. So think if it as they will, and be honest about the risks so that you can come up with sensible ways to mitigate them.

Hope that helps.

missingmumxox Fri 15-Feb-13 01:50:35

you haven't told us the work role so can only go on what you have said, but could you re-read your post and realise how unrealistic that is to an employer, as in a majority of staff can no longer be in the field?
that said you, all of you need to go to the manager with the solution, as in abc will work these days def will work this G can fill in, working from home is the red herring on this, you all need to work together to make you mangers life easier they are possibly in tail spin with so many staff on mat leave an you requests are at the end of a long of paying work requests

MakeTeaNotWar Fri 15-Feb-13 00:01:02


morleylass Thu 14-Feb-13 17:30:47

I'm not an expert but I would think that an employer is perfectly within their rights to specify you work your hours in the office, unless of course your contract states otherwise. You are within your rights to request flexible working and they must consider it, but they don't have to agree to it.

Where I work people generally work quite flexibly, it is great and one of the reasons I stay, however I must admit that when trying to get a meeting booked with lots of people who work flexibly, it can be a real PITA.

I'm sure there will be someone more knowledgeable along soon!

MakeTeaNotWar Thu 14-Feb-13 10:56:58

It is completely possible to do my job remotely. Due to the demographic of my team, there are 7 women currently on maternity leave. Each one plans to apply for flexible working and request 1 day a week working from home. Our manager - while prepared to offer compressed hours and other solutions - wants to refuse all requests to work from home straight off on the grounds that actual bodies will be very thin on the ground.

Can they do this? It seems very short-sighted to measure output by bums on seats rather than performance.No doubt they'll fashion this into a spurious business reason but it really does seem to be that they are uncomfortable with having empty desks in the office.

As an extra aside, I am currently on mat leave with my second child. I returned to work after my first child having agreed to work from home one day a week. I understand that this is a permanent change and my employer cannot simply change their mind about this now that other people would like the same arrangement?

Thanks for any advice

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