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WFH and DSE assessment(7 Posts)
I have been working from home twice a week (office based other 3 days) for nearly 3 years. I have been with the employer (local authority) for 11 years.
I have recently been diagnosed with some health issues, including lower back problems and have had an assessor come and assess my workstation at home.
It’s not perfect, but I’m not at my dining table or anything. However he has recommended to the employer lots of equipment to be provided to ensure a good workstation set up at home.
I have heard from my manager that the leadership team are leaning towards revoking my wfh rather than provide this equipment. This would be a major issue. I also have had the 2 days written into occ health reports for anxiety and wellbeing reasons over this past 3 years.
Can anyone help please?
I have heard from my manager that the leadership team are leaning towards revoking my wfh rather than provide this equipment.
This seems to be a common theme nowadays. OH recommend xyz, but when push comes to shove the recommendations are kicked into the long grass with no explanation and then it becomes a war of attrition between employee and employer as to why the recommendations haven't been enacted.
My recommendation is, if this is important to you, not to leave it as anecdotal "the LT are leaning towards....", try to get your manager to come out with a definite statement as to why they don't support the assessment. How much could these adjustments cost, if it's £000s they may not have the budget (guessing there).
You could take a pragmatic view on the matter and consider how valuable is it to you to wfh and whether you can live without the items the assessor has recommended. It doesn't sound like they are declining your wfh, just the adjustments.
FWIW I ended up buying my own chair from John Lewis which was £200 (and very comfortable), just so I could avoid this kind of uncomfortable dialogue as budgets are tight and I knew there could be pushback! At least I never have to give it back lol.
What does your contract of employment say? Are you classed as a home worker? Did you get written confirmation that you WFH x number of days?
If your employer has stated you WFH they have to supply you with the necessary equipment to do so. You might be on sticky ground if you are based in the office. I'd wait and see what the assessment says, and take it from there.
Apologies I misread your post and you've said they are potentially going to take away your wfh so they don't have to give you the adjustment items.
On that basis I would
1. Ask to see the assessor's report.
2. Request a formal meeting with your manager to discuss the recommendations of the report and ask for formal confirmation about where the LT intend to take this, re revoking your wfh.
3. point out that you have had precedent in your weekly work pattern so need your manager to clarify the situation formally so you know where you stand.
Did you ever go through the formal flexible working process where they gave you approval for wfh pattern? This will stand you in good stead if you have secured formal agreement in the past. They do have the right to change a previous decision based on change to trading conditions etc, but equally you have a right to stand firm as they should make any such change by consultation.
It entirely depends how much of a show-stopper it is, as to how far you take it.
You WFH based on your Occ Health recommendation, but working from home is impacting your health. Your employer has a responsibility for your health, if you do not have an adequate workspace to WFH safely your employer has to act and really only has two choices. Pay for an adequate workspace (and potentially set a precedent for other WFH staff), or remove the WFH option and review with Occ Heath what other reasonable adjustments can be put in place for your anxiety within their offices.
What equipment does the report say you need? We picked up a 2nd hand full sized commercial office corner desk from Gumtree with built in cable trunking and power for £50. You can get a reasonable office chair for <£200. It was a good investment as it means we now have a great (and well used) space for me to WFH when I want to, self employed tradesman DH to do admin etc at, ds to do homework/study, or for general PC use. Personally I would pay for my own office quality desk/chair to eliminate the risk of consultation, then officially and completely losing the WFH privilege and all its benefits.
Agree with all points made by PP, and definitely worth reviewing the report yourself and working towards a mutually acceptable solution. Some OH reports can be rather idealistic, and actually quite impractical for the worker too.
What do you need and what are the best prices you can find for those items? Don't be afraid to look at second hand, as long as you're confident of the quality that's all that matters.
I'd definitely wait and see what they say before thinking about anything else. So far you don't know what they will decide. TBH I am surprised though that they haven't done a DSE previously - WFH for two days a week is a substantial period of the working week, and they ought to have considered the impacts of this long before there is actually, possibly, some damage done by inadequate working arrangements. Most local authorities I know require a DSE for anything above occasional home working or one day per week.
I think what happens next will depend on the cost. "A lot of equipment" may equate to a lot of money, and justifying spending a lot of money on a second place to work when you already have one may be difficult in these days of cuts and frozen budgets (and it may also be the case that there is additional cost to your office space as well since, if this is required at home I can't see how it isn't also required in the office). The difficulty that you may now face is that since the employer now has a report that says this equipment is necessary, you cutting corners by buying your own equipment (even if you can) may not be acceptable. By allowing that, if your condition deteriorated, they could be sued for not providing the equipment necessary. So they will want to be cautious.
I'd err on the side of "wait and see" for now. It may amount to nothing. But don't pre-empt a decision because you can't be certain you won't make things worse. You do not want them in a corner where you capability to do the job comes into question.
Are you in a union? I hope so.