Your home-working rights
Out of sight, out of mind?
It may have been months since you stepped inside your office.
Colleagues, the security guards, the familiar faces on the commute – all of that has been on hold while the world readjusts to staying at home.
And you’d be forgiven for thinking, from the perspective of your employer, it’s a case of out of sight, out of mind.
But while you’re still carrying out all your usual duties, albeit from your home setup, let’s not forget that your employer’s responsibilities towards you remain the same too.
Anyone who has worked at home for an extended period of time knows that typical patterns are out the window.
On the plus side, you’ve more time to yourself because you no longer have the commute, the lengthy meetings, or the obligatory dashes to the coffee shop.
But then you’re surrounded by distractions, you may have been home-schooling, and the lack of separation between home and work life can be stressful.
So while the way you work your hours might have changed, remember that your employer cannot change the amount of hours you work purely because you’re working at home.
Home office or make-shift soft play?
Many people will have had to juggle childcare and working from home during lockdown.
Quite simply, there’s been no choice but to just make it work.
But what started as a novelty quickly became extremely challenging for those who had to work their shifts while their child was absent from school.
If you find yourself in that situation now, you should speak to your employer.
Given these unprecedented circumstances, they should be understanding and open to finding ways of you working flexibly around childcare duties.
Bills, bills, bills
If you only worked at home occasionally prior to the Covid lockdown, it probably never crossed your mind to think about how much it was costing you.
But over a sustained period, that additional electricity, heating and internet usage can add up.
Your employer should contribute towards that increase. And while it doesn’t extend to things you’d be paying for anyway like council tax or the mortgage, help with your household bills is well worth exploring.
Lots of things have changed – your rights haven’t
Many workers tend to agree that enforced home-working has been something of a blessing and a curse. One worker’s extra hour in bed is another’s sacrifice of a dearly-loved daily journey into town.
But amid all this change, one thing hasn’t altered, and that’s the legal obligation your manager and employer has towards you.
If it’s in your contract for when you’re in the office, it applies at home too. That consistency will remain no matter what the lasting impact of coronavirus is.