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    Working from home dilemma...

    Quick question...

    My employer has enforced mandatory travel restrictions, and as such I am now working from home.. (i was previously based at various client sites / company offices dependant on work).

    I have been at home for 3-4 weeks now, but i dont have a home office set up, so currently flitting between a dining room table and sitting on the bed when my back gets sore.

    SO... work are arguing over the costs of the risk assessment and the home office setup charges, which i can understand (their mandated equipment is ridiculousy expensive £600 for a chair, £900 for a desk) - however i am really struggling in the work environment i currently have (basically a wooden chair) - and my back is killing me...

    I have been taking regular breaks / walks to help, but as the restrictions will be in place until November.. want to understand my options.. (i know one of them is to find a new job!) .. ideas?

    25 Comments

    Kit out your home office for a reasonable cost and do not let the red tape pen pushers rip you off with their overpriced suggestions.

    IKEA office furniture second hand on eBay is good value.

    Original Poster

    donaldduck2

    Kit out your home office for a reasonable cost and do not let the red … Kit out your home office for a reasonable cost and do not let the red tape pen pushers rip you off with their overpriced suggestions.



    Of course that is one option - but not an expense i should have to cover myself. I did suggest, and it affects their business insurance (apparently) if they dont use approved kit.

    patonar

    Of course that is one option - but not an expense i should have to cover … Of course that is one option - but not an expense i should have to cover myself. I did suggest, and it affects their business insurance (apparently) if they dont use approved kit.

    now I am confused. Are they forcing equipment on you at your own cost?

    Original Poster

    chocci

    now I am confused. Are they forcing equipment on you at your own cost?



    Nope - they aren't telling me i have to pay... they will pay, but they are arguing about the cost.. it could take upto 8 weeks. Which isn't (in my opinion) fullfiling an obligation to provide a safe working environment.

    patonar

    Nope - they aren't telling me i have to pay... they will pay, but they … Nope - they aren't telling me i have to pay... they will pay, but they are arguing about the cost.. it could take upto 8 weeks. Which isn't (in my opinion) fullfiling an obligation to provide a safe working environment.

    still confused as to how they can argue about the cost when it is their mandated equipment they are providing

    Original Poster

    chocci

    still confused as to how they can argue about the cost when it is their … still confused as to how they can argue about the cost when it is their mandated equipment they are providing



    Ok a little more context - they have a choice - continue to pay my business mileage (roughly 1.5 tanks of diesel a week - they are still paying the company car lease) or pay £1500 or so for home office furniture.

    The two options need to go to the states for approval (as all travel that isn't customer facing is blocked) - both options achieve the same goal.

    Hard times we are in when one of the largest companies in the world cant get their act together over a couple of grand of kit... in their pursuit of the years financial results. The things we do to satisfy wall st.

    My concern is none of that - i dont mind working from home, i just need somewhere safe to do it from... in order to comply with my contract (i would have to be risk assessed as would my house) and stop me crippling myself i need some advice of any "levers" i might be able to pull from an H&S perspective

    Just go and work in the local library or coffee shop.

    IamMT

    Just go and work in the local library or coffee shop.



    cooffice

    starbuck/costa/cafe nero

    I'm struggling to understand what the problem is oO Who is your company arguing with over the costs?
    Edited by: "redarrowrules" 19th Jun 2014

    Original Poster

    redarrowrules

    I'm struggling to understand what the problem is oO Who is your company … I'm struggling to understand what the problem is oO Who is your company arguing with over the costs?



    Themselves - its a large multinational with so many levels of beurocracy..

    Original Poster

    IamMT

    Just go and work in the local library or coffee shop.



    How is that different to sitting at my dining room table on a wooden chair for hours?

    And cant take conference calls in a Library / noisy commercial environment anyway.

    patonar

    How is that different to sitting at my dining room table on a wooden … How is that different to sitting at my dining room table on a wooden chair for hours? And cant take conference calls in a Library / noisy commercial environment anyway.

    Most libraries don't have wooden chairs and dining tables. Go home for conference calls.

    Original Poster

    IamMT

    Most libraries don't have wooden chairs and dining tables. Go home for … Most libraries don't have wooden chairs and dining tables. Go home for conference calls.



    To be fair - this isn't the sore point i am asking for advice on, appreciate i can work anywhere i like at my own convinience or expense, it is around the H&S requirements of my empkoyer to provide suitable working environment.

    IamMT

    Most libraries don't have wooden chairs and dining tables. Go home for … Most libraries don't have wooden chairs and dining tables. Go home for conference calls.



    So your suggestion is patonar runs between home and the local coffee shop all day?

    Anyway, patonar can you not speak to someone in HR about this? Has it even been escalted to your manager?
    Edited by: "redarrowrules" 19th Jun 2014

    Original Poster

    redarrowrules

    So your suggestion is patonar runs between home and the local coffee shop … So your suggestion is patonar runs between home and the local coffee shop all day? :pAnyway, patonar can you not speak to someone in HR about this? Has it even been escalted to your manager?



    Yep escalated hence the arguments about cost - work in a leveraged matrix managed org, so direct "people" issues are handled by a capability lead. No direct HR involvement (who are offshore in India)

    redarrowrules

    So your suggestion is patonar runs between home and the local coffee shop … So your suggestion is patonar runs between home and the local coffee shop all day? :pAnyway, patonar can you not speak to someone in HR about this? Has it even been escalted to your manager?

    Of course not! He has a company car and free fuel...

    Original Poster

    IamMT

    Of course not! He has a company car and free fuel...



    Not able to use the fuel card with restrictions though...

    patonar

    Not able to use the fuel card with restrictions though...



    If you were being taxed on that as a benefit in kind make sure HR sort it out with HMRC so you're not overtaxed

    a good lumber supporting chair can be had for £125 ikea.com/gb/…01/

    A desk is personal choice - but again i got mine for £50 about 14 years ago lol, its height adjustable and larger than most dining room tables. this isnt height adjsutable but should resolve any issues you have with lurching ikea.com/gb/…44/

    if you were to find something suitable for you and present this as a recommendation in the risk assessment as a preference they would have to go with it or face being sued should problems arise with their choices.

    Good luck.

    Original Poster

    IamMT

    If you were being taxed on that as a benefit in kind make sure HR sort it … If you were being taxed on that as a benefit in kind make sure HR sort it out with HMRC so you're not overtaxed



    Yep - i dont use the company car for personal miles.. easier that way. No BIK on the fuel then.

    is there a regus.co.uk/pro…spx near by that they will pay for usage on a temporary basis till sorted ?

    they will have appropriate office facilities
    your company may well have membership discount / scheme available anyhow
    (plus i believe there was a free membership deal shared on here recently)
    Edited by: "mrwhitelabel" 19th Jun 2014

    What is your contractual status? Home or Office based?

    If it's the latter it sounds like you need to get some legal advice on your contract of employment. By not providing you with the ability to carry out your work safely and effectively that may be a breach of contract. An employment contract goes both ways, you turn up and do the work and your employer provides you require safe means for doing so.

    By imposing travel restrictions and forcing you to work from home they are amending your contract and creating a situation where you cannot carry out you job effectively or safely. Working at a dining table or on a bed presents significant risks to your health. Even if your employment contract is silent on where you are based, if you have previously had arrangements in place and they have changes then legally the former arrangement would be determined as an implied term of contract even if not expressly written.

    Speak to an employment solicitor quick if I were you.

    Original Poster

    nickc74

    What is your contractual status? Home or Office based? If it's the latter … What is your contractual status? Home or Office based? If it's the latter it sounds like you need to get some legal advice on your contract of employment. By not providing you with the ability to carry out your work safely and effectively that may be a breach of contract. An employment contract goes both ways, you turn up and do the work and your employer provides you require safe means for doing so. By imposing travel restrictions and forcing you to work from home they are amending your contract and creating a situation where you cannot carry out you job effectively or safely. Working at a dining table or on a bed presents significant risks to your health. Even if your employment contract is silent on where you are based, if you have previously had arrangements in place and they have changes then legally the former arrangement would be determined as an implied term of contract even if not expressly written. Speak to an employment solicitor quick if I were you.



    Thank you - this is the kinda of advice i was after.

    My contract states office based, but mobile worker - so no fixed desk space, but working from any ACME or approved customer site.

    I will get some advice professionally.

    To be clear i am most definatley not looking to make a case / sue / claim compensation or anything. Just want employer to meet their obligations.

    My advice on this is.

    Since it is a large Multi national company, they should have a H&S Dept. speak to them and explain the difficulties you are experiencing working from home without the right tools to effectively complete your job. Also explain that your present furniture is inadequate for sustained work and is causing you serious back strain and mental stress, hopefully that may make them sit up and take notice.

    Companies hate getting embroiled in H&S issues.
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