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Hello, 

As the job thread is closed but this isn't thread worthy I started something generic.

I'm going to need to request reasonable adjustment in work. I've raised it as a possibility a month ago to forwarn them and they said "if we do it for you everyone else will want it" which raises the question of how best to open discussions.

I'm very laid back in work these days and so I'm vary open and relaxed, but realistically how much back and forth should I tolerate before I contact the union?

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Not enormously impressed by that article (I used the Youtube link to read it). I get some of the issues they bring up, but it's not so much about productivity as it is about identifying HR concerns li

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24 minutes ago, Keith Houchen said:

Depends on the scenario but appreciate you can’t go into detail. Always consult with your union, that’s what you pay subs for. 

I registered my mental health condition as a disability 2 years ago.  This year has shown my health is the best it's been in 15 years working from home. Given I can do my job from home I'm requesting I'm not in 3 days a week as they requested.

I tried it but the first time in months I've cut myself or thought of suicide is being back in the office. So I'm asking to work from the office less than standard, but still work on site at least 1 day a week as a compromise.

The big thing for me is other people have said they prefer working with me when I'm at home as I'm more stable, so as a duty to others if not myself I need to raise it.

It's the first time I've made such a request so I'm at a but of s loss on best approach.

I'll call my union this week before I open discussions.

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Hi Tommy,

Sorry to hear you are unwell. You are looking to submit a flexible working application to work from home. You should submit a formal flexible working application in writing as per your company policy. They will meet with you to discuss it and then the company is legally obliged to come back to you with a decision within 3 months.

By law, there are only specific reasons the company can use as grounds to reject such a request, they are:

  • It will cost your business too much
  • The company cannot reorganise the work among other staff
  • The company cannot recruit more staff
  • There will be a negative effect on quality
  • There will be a negative effect on the business’ ability to meet customer demand
  • There will be a negative effect on performance
  • There’s not enough work for the employee to do when they’ve requested to work
  • There are planned changes to the business, for example, intentions to restructure that will not fit with the proposal.

Many organisations don't want to consider flexible working applications currently due to not being in a state of 'business as usual', but you have the right to request it and get a response within 3 months. 

I suggest you read up on your rights on flexible working applications on the ACAS website: https://www.acas.org.uk/making-a-flexible-working-request

 

Edited by MPDTT
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I'd also like to add, from an employers side, that we are concerned about a wave of home working flexible working applications post-covid. In fact, its the subject of most discussion amongst my network. I think a lot of organisations are trying to figure out what culture they want after Covid - as employees will want more flexibility in regards to work location - but at the same time the employer may well want a certain degree of attendance in the office. From my company's point of view, we are preparing a policy that allows for 2 days working from home per week for all employees - but we will resist flexible working requests for 4 or 5 days per week working from home - we believe we do our best work when together and interacting with our colleagues and therefore not having that presence will be detrimental to quality of output and ultimately performance - so we are trying to meet our employees half way. I'd also be concerned about the floodgates issue - setting a precedent, as you suggest your employer has already said to you, would really worry me as an HR leader. 

So I agree with Keith - speak to your union. However, I share the above because I do believe your employer will have justifiable grounds to reject a request to work from home 4 days out of 5 (assuming you are a full time employee) and I think if they have suggested you only need to be in the office 3 days out of 5, then that is, in my view, extremely reasonable. 

One thing that could help you, however, is to ask to be referred to Occupational Health - if the company gets a medical assessment from a doctor recommending that your working arrangements be adapted in this way, then your company may be more agreeable to at least try it on a temporary basis.  

Edited by MPDTT
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5 minutes ago, MPDTT said:

So I agree with Keith - speak to your union. However, I share the above because I do believe your employer will have justifiable grounds to reject a request to work from home 4 days out of 5 (assuming you are a full time employee) and I think if they have suggested you only need to be in the office 3 days out of 5, then that is, in my view, extremely reasonable. 

This is a scenario where unions and employers will hopefully be collectively progressive. Covid has changed the whole landscape. 

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Just now, Keith Houchen said:

This is a scenario where unions and employers will hopefully be collectively progressive. Covid has changed the whole landscape. 

I agree. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MPDTT said:

You should submit a formal flexible working application in writing as per your company policy.

That's part of my concern, we have no policy and no HR function, it's a real mess on that side, so I don't want to do anything which is seen as unreasonable. They didn't know how to handle me raising a disability to go on my record the other year as an insight. 

I've been open to try the 3 day set up and said I'll discuss further based on feedback from other employees and so far it's a resounding we want you at home and not in the office because you're better there and the work you do was better not being in the office. 

I spend most of my days in an office with earphones in scrolling through VB or reviewing BEx or building a business case, so for the most part me being there does nothing but freak out others. 

Edited by Tommy!
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13 hours ago, MPDTT said:

 we will resist flexible working requests for 4 or 5 days per week working from home - we believe we do our best work when together and interacting with our colleagues and therefore not having that presence will be detrimental to quality of output and ultimately performance - so we are trying to meet our employees half way.

What are you basing this on? Based on a lot of what I've seen online, a lot of organisations are reporting higher productivity and job satisfaction with people working from home - at least, this seems to be the discussions happening. Has this been the case with what you've seen as well?

Asking partly because what I've seen anecdotally - in my organisation, productivity has been WAY up and has helped the organisation during a difficult time (including paycuts across the board). However, recently, the CEO has started getting antsy about how much people are online, and encouraging managers to check if people are showing as available/away etc on Teams. In much the same way, the same CEO used to occasionally get antsy about whether or not people were in and out of the office at certain times (he was a morning person), and would discourage working from home.

If it'd been left to him, we'd never have been able to test working from home to the level we have, and not seen the positive benefits from it. However, as with many organisations, we're at the whim of his feelings, and he feels like if he can't see good behaviour in person, people must be taking the piss.

This idea of 'doing our best work' strikes me like similar things. Belief from HR leaders doesn't often fill me with optimism, as I've often seen it involve a lack of trust of employees, and a lot of measurements that don't actually mean much. 

Background note - I've worked for an international people management / leadership organisation in the past, so I've become far more cynical towards the entire thing. There's an inherent distrust of employees, particularly young ones, while refusing to acknowledge failings that actually engender distrust. 

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Posted (edited)

I think there are definitely some people that do their best work together, but from what I've seen these are all the people that are clamouring to be part of the first wave of staff that get let back into the office.

In my experience people are much more motivated when you treat them like adults and give them enough respect to get on with their work. Slackers and under performers will always find a way to do fuck all - it doesn't matter where you put them. You might clock on just that little bit sooner but I think the benefits definitely outweigh that consideration.

Edited by Chest Rockwell
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49 minutes ago, Chris B said:

What are you basing this on? Based on a lot of what I've seen online, a lot of organisations are reporting higher productivity and job satisfaction with people working from home - at least, this seems to be the discussions happening. Has this been the case with what you've seen as well?

Asking partly because what I've seen anecdotally - in my organisation, productivity has been WAY up and has helped the organisation during a difficult time (including paycuts across the board). However, recently, the CEO has started getting antsy about how much people are online, and encouraging managers to check if people are showing as available/away etc on Teams. In much the same way, the same CEO used to occasionally get antsy about whether or not people were in and out of the office at certain times (he was a morning person), and would discourage working from home.

If it'd been left to him, we'd never have been able to test working from home to the level we have, and not seen the positive benefits from it. However, as with many organisations, we're at the whim of his feelings, and he feels like if he can't see good behaviour in person, people must be taking the piss.

This idea of 'doing our best work' strikes me like similar things. Belief from HR leaders doesn't often fill me with optimism, as I've often seen it involve a lack of trust of employees, and a lot of measurements that don't actually mean much. 

Background note - I've worked for an international people management / leadership organisation in the past, so I've become far more cynical towards the entire thing. There's an inherent distrust of employees, particularly young ones, while refusing to acknowledge failings that actually engender distrust. 

There was a great article recently on this in the Wall Street Journal called "Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All". Unfortunately I can't share it with you as it's behind a pay wall. Still, I've found this chap on Youtube has added a full discussion video on the contents. Note that I've not watched this through.

 

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I don’t buy the ‘floodgates’ excuse employers use as a excuse to refuse flexible working applications. If there’s not already a flood of requests at Tommy’s workplace then what excuse is there to use that reason? Tommy can state his case and on individual merit they should consider it, not on a basis of ‘what if’. If it’s manageable at the instance then it shouldn’t be a problem. If 20 people follow suit then it’s unmanageable for those 20 people not Tommy. 

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, MPDTT said:

There was a great article recently on this in the Wall Street Journal called "Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All". Unfortunately I can't share it with you as it's behind a pay wall. Still, I've found this chap on Youtube has added a full discussion video on the contents. Note that I've not watched this through.

 

Not enormously impressed by that article (I used the Youtube link to read it). I get some of the issues they bring up, but it's not so much about productivity as it is about identifying HR concerns like hiring, training and knowledge sharing. I know I've been checking in more with junior colleagues via Teams and the like, and the ability to have private conversations (that, obviously, HR don't see) allows for more open discussions to help them understand.

The problem is that it seems like agenda-driven decision-making, rather than genuine data-driven decision-making. Effectively, it smacks of 'we want people to come back to the offices, and here are the positives that we think they're missing out on' rather than 'what other opportunities are there to address the positives that home-working misses out on?'.  I certainly see enough in there to encourage occasional insistence on everyone being back in the office, but not the majority of the week like you're talking about. 'No more than two days working from home, or you open the floodgates' seems like old-fashioned thinking.

Also, having been around quite a bit of HR thought leadership, 'old-fashioned thinking' is fucking rife within that sector. Vince McMahon embraces change faster than the HR industry.

EDIT: Not going to miss that a key learning in that article is that people work better when they're scared, which is a pretty unnerving point for HR leaders to be salivating over.

Edited by Chris B
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On 8/24/2020 at 12:30 PM, Chris B said:

Not enormously impressed by that article (I used the Youtube link to read it). I get some of the issues they bring up, but it's not so much about productivity as it is about identifying HR concerns like hiring, training and knowledge sharing. I know I've been checking in more with junior colleagues via Teams and the like, and the ability to have private conversations (that, obviously, HR don't see) allows for more open discussions to help them understand.

The problem is that it seems like agenda-driven decision-making, rather than genuine data-driven decision-making. Effectively, it smacks of 'we want people to come back to the offices, and here are the positives that we think they're missing out on' rather than 'what other opportunities are there to address the positives that home-working misses out on?'.  I certainly see enough in there to encourage occasional insistence on everyone being back in the office, but not the majority of the week like you're talking about. 'No more than two days working from home, or you open the floodgates' seems like old-fashioned thinking.

Also, having been around quite a bit of HR thought leadership, 'old-fashioned thinking' is fucking rife within that sector. Vince McMahon embraces change faster than the HR industry.

EDIT: Not going to miss that a key learning in that article is that people work better when they're scared, which is a pretty unnerving point for HR leaders to be salivating over.

The drive back to the office depends on the industry, overheads, control, especially control and a need for authority.

The thing is, is that this is all tied in to a peculiarly British Work ethos whereby you must work, or at least be seen to be working else you are being deficient or not being productive.  Lockdown has massively boosted productivity in some areas, because people are not being micro monitored to an inch of their lives (data when used properly is great, when it's trying to make employee's robots not so much) and as a result employers seem to be of the opinion that this is bad as not everyone is battery farmed into an office where productivity will decrease on return and does not solve anything. The British Work Culture has never really moved on from Mining/Mill Culture and the 'threat' to return to something that is no longer fit for purpose as a model fills me with dread for those buggers who have to be chained to a desk or phone, laptop, desk set up. 

3rd Sector/ Health seem to have adapted best out of all of the sectors I have seen, as the constant travel (now zilch unless high risk or Care home style) and constant meetings and discussions and the rest can all be done online without having to travel halfway across the country for a 2 hour meeting that someone could have precised in about 2 lines of an email.

It frees up time for frontline or web work where available and also offers workers more freedom in their working days and lives so they can have a better work life balance.

Regards @Tommy!'s issue, definitely contact Union or Acas, once application is in, and if it helps ask to see productivity stats pre/post lockdown and see if that shows improvements. I'm sure there will be capability brought up, it always is the disrespectful gits! However if you can prove that you are most effective in your current position, have the stats that show that and can example none lost days to MH they cannot reasonably refuse the request, unless there is some insane business reason as to why you need to be in. The employers have a duty of care to protect you from further health issues I think it's something like section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, but check with Union Acas that also means that you dont have to return to work in their offices if it puts your health and safety in danger.

As for me, promoted again, national job. This year is going a bit mental. Sake!

 

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24 minutes ago, patiirc said:

 

As for me, promoted again, national job. This year is going a bit mental. Sake!

 

Congratulations on the promotion!

Edited by Chest Rockwell
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