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Employer wants to revoke my 1 day working from home

(19 Posts)
catbasilio Tue 12-Jun-18 15:29:21

6 months ago, I have asked for 1 day working from home due to family situation (marriage breakdown, single parenting etc.). I told them that it would mean a big relief in my work-life balance (which it is, with 3 hours round commute to the office). My boss was sympathetic and approved for 3 months, then extended for 3 months, and then for 3 months again, but the last time he implied that he wants to revoke the arrangement. He said it is working well but he prefers to communicate face-to-face if he has to, or organizing meeting when everyone in the office can be a challenge (we have another colleague working from home 1 day due to health issues and have organised some meetings on business skype). Honestly my job is mainly back office and I have max 2 meetings per week, and max 1 question per day from my boss which is mainly asked by email. Nothing that is detrimental to business/company/communication. I feel he just wants to micromanage.
HR tends to go along with what the manager says. My HR letter says my pattern approved for the next 3 months and they have a right to revoke it. Do they really have a right to revoke it?

I have googled possible business reasons for rejecting flexible working and in my case, I can’t see any. I am not the one to cry about my family situation, but I can only say so much - this 1 day per week has been a lifesaver and gives my loyalty to the co. forever. I have been with them for many years and work hard to prove that I don’t lazy about when working from home.

Also it is not about childcare either. More to fit school/doc appointments just before/after work, going to a recycling centre just before work, picking up my car during lunch break, taking parcels in etc… otherwise I have to take half-days off and my Saturdays are manic.

Please advice what are my rights, thank you.

FiestaThenSiesta Tue 12-Jun-18 15:34:53

“I have googled possible business reasons for rejecting flexible working and in my case, I can’t see any.”

But your manager gave them to you - he feels it impacts his communication with you and rest of your team, the workplace culture prefers face-to-face, he told you he finds meetings difficult to schedule. It’s not about how easy it is for you, but how much more difficult is it for him to manage.

Violetroselily Tue 12-Jun-18 18:08:27

Did you actually submit a formal flexible working request?

You need to do that and your manager will have to follow the correct process in responding within X amount of days, and will need to give reasons if he declines it

It sounds informal at the moment? Or have the 3+3 months been the trial period?

FiestaThenSiesta Tue 12-Jun-18 21:35:35

Not a solicitor. But I had a similar arrangement some while back, and didn’t come under flexible hours but rather a temporary change in terms of my contract, because I was requesting to work the same hours from a location other than what was agreed in my signed contract and job description. They didn’t want to change the terms of my contract - and also didn’t want to set a precedent- so I had similar in 3 month, then 6 month, then eventually annual periods of renewal.

EBearhug Wed 13-Jun-18 02:40:29

he prefers to communicate face-to-face if he has to, or organizing meeting when everyone in the office can be a challenge

Face-to-face is generally better, but it's not totally necessary every single day. My department is spread across at least 6 countries. It's more challenging than being in one office, but with all the options for video conferencing, instant messenger, email, telephones and so on, it's definitely possible, and it's how many multinationals operate. (Our head of HR has said, "work is an activity, not a place.")

If anyone requested flexible working with us, we all know we wouldn't get team meeting day, so we do have at least one day a week where everyone is in (for locally based people.) People have also been flexible for things like all-hands meetings, and swapped their usual days off.

But then, you aren't the one who needs persuading - and it can depend on the nature of the work and so on. If he's that determined that it's too difficult for him, you're going to struggle to persuade him otherwise unless you can find a really strong argument for it.

daisychain01 Wed 13-Jun-18 05:10:42

ime a common reason for rejecting or rescinding a flexible working arrangement of the "one day working from home" variety, is the precedent it sets when the rest of the team or company in general doesn't tend to wfh habitually - ie it's the exception not the rule, normally for things like occasional medical appointments.

Managers can be very reluctant to give the flexibility to some and not others.

Equally, if the Manager works from home, then they will find it very difficult to refuse the same to others.

So you may find you're up against a brick wall if it isn't generally in the culture ..... public sector especially MOD is very supportive of wfh, they almost encourage it if it helps with Environmental targets, reducing the carbon footprint. Private sector is very mixed, financial services is generally appalling - kind of don't even both applying the answer is NO.

catbasilio Wed 13-Jun-18 09:01:58

Thank you. I am back office in a multinational co. so there isn't really much need or opportunity for face to face communication. For those one off meetings I've offered to swap days around. I know that my boss just like micromanage, also doesn't want to set a precedent (which is already set and honestly has not been detrimental to anyone). My request was formal (written) and their letter with the right to revoke is also formal that's why I wonder where will I stand in 3 months time.

FiestaThenSiesta Wed 13-Jun-18 09:19:22

I thought it was pretty clear. You will request and they will decline. And you boss is kind enough to hint at this now, allowing you to make appropriate arrangements in advance.

TwitterQueen1 Wed 13-Jun-18 09:31:18

My understanding is that flexible working is entirely at the discretion of the employer - there is no obligation to agree to it - so no matter how reasonable a request you feel it is OP, it's not about you. Basically, you have no 'rights' to flex working at all.

flowery Wed 13-Jun-18 09:36:55

It sounds like they specifically agreed it on a temporary basis, with a defined end date. In general if someone puts in a flexible working request under the relevant legislation and the request is approved, this becomes a permanent part of the person's terms and conditions and is no more easy to change than any other aspect of terms and conditions.

However it is fine for both parties to agree a set trial period or temporary arrangement as long as this is clear.

If you want it to be permanent now, put in a request for that to happen.

Viola82 Wed 13-Jun-18 09:43:50

I'm afraid it's your manager decision and I wouldn't push it too much. Perhaps he/she just want you to be in the office regardless work/tasks you're doing.
are you the only person in the team wfh?

daisychain01 Thu 14-Jun-18 05:28:42

Unfortunately despite legislation existing and employer publishing their FW policy on their intranet, reality is that if they dig their heels in and refuse to budge, it puts the burden squarely at the employee's door to take issue, build the case for being treated unfairly compared to colleagues who do get to wfh etc and it can make them look like the troublemaker (even though they are just exercising their rights under the policy!)

I've known an employer to state categorically that they won't consider wfh, even saying they've put a "blanket ban" on it.

Caribbeanyesplease Thu 14-Jun-18 05:35:25

He permitted you to work from home for a year

That is not a micro manager

DuchyDuke Thu 14-Jun-18 10:04:12

Transfer to a company or department that does allow work from home.

catbasilio Thu 14-Jun-18 12:22:19

Thanks again. There are number of other issues around my boss and I get I am lucky to wfh even if temporarily.
All I wanted is to clarify my rights. Now I know I am at the mercy of my boss grin and have no rights basically despite of what is stated in the policy and even if wfh works well.

Caribbeanyesplease Thu 14-Jun-18 12:32:16

What is stated “in the policy”?

itstimeforanamechange Fri 15-Jun-18 12:09:34

OP you are not "lucky" to work from home. It is a benefit to the company because most people who work from home end up doing longer days (I do) and it is a benefit to the employer to have engaged staff - if they offer you flexibility you offer the same back. If you are good at your job your boss needs to see past the presenteeism. And one day a week is hardly anything anyway.

daisychain01 Sat 16-Jun-18 05:58:53

have no rights basically despite of what is stated in the policy and even if wfh works well

Just to be clear, the legislation does give rights on both sides. The employee has the right to have their request for FW considered and the employer has the right to decline, however they must give it due consideration and give the employee a reason (which falls within a list of possibilities) as to why the request is declined.

The difficulty is that the employer holds most of the power. They get to say yay or nay. As a general rule, an employer tends to be more accommodating to a request if the employee's reason relates to a health matter - almost guaranteed if it's tied to a reasonable adjustment - or if the employee moves house for care reasons and it's a long distance so a day/week wfh gives them some respite from a very long commute.

Key thing is, if wfh is important to you, it's best to ensure the company is geared up culturally towards FW then you never get the problem. Case in point, my last company was very anti-wfh. I got to work remotely on a handful of occasions and needed to complete the full 26 weeks statutory period before I could even request it. Was blocked from a weekly arrangement, I literally had to put in a written request on a case by case basis. Tedious. Moved to new company, within 1 week of starting, I was already working remotely whenever i wanted. Incredible difference.

OliviaStabler Sat 16-Jun-18 08:10:54

There are number of other issues around my boss and I get I am lucky to wfh even if temporarily.

Do you think he is open to hearing about solutions to his concerns? Or is he the type who, once his mind is made up, that's it?

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