Trusting to Work from Home

As someone who was forced from my last job largely because my managers and employer, a Local Authority failed to understand Home Working, and particularly how it supports disabled staff, I empathise people currently in this situation due to Lockdown.

I was employed on a part time permanent contract with, the flexibility to work from home, on the days I was due to my disabilities, physically unable to get into the office. This was all discussed and signed off at the time I was taken on. Prior to my engagement, occupational Health, HR, my manager and myself all discussed both my needs and the requirements of my employer and arrived at this agreement.

Access to Work paid for all my essential equipment with the exception of a laptop which it was again agreed would be supplied by my employer, this never arrived therefore to work from home I needed to use my person pc.

On the occasions I needed to work from home I was forced to work on a system which, at that time, was not fit for purpose; I was given a small fob which you logged into via a password and theoretically gave safe access to the intranet. In reality it regularly failed, this then meant an hour on the phone with IT, allowing remote log in from them to my personal pc, before I could even begin to work. And in two years this caused three hard drives to become corrupted. And as work was the sole use of the drive, there is no other reason.

Further to this, my manager would regularly set up team meetings at times I was not working; forcing me to choose whether to participate at of working hours or not attend and cause tensions with my co-workers. I found out later that my stated hours and the agreement to work remotely due to health, was never endorsed by my manager and I was viewed as absent by colleagues.

The whole notion of working from home requires trust on both sides and a shift in thinking from managers and employers. The fact that many bosses feel that remote surveillance is acceptable is, in my opinion, due to the old “when the cat is away, the nice will play” wives tale; it is simply that management seems to view those they are responsible for as needing almost constant visual supervision.

Ironically they fail to recognise that this thinking is in reality their own shortcoming; effective managers trust they have given a clear and effective brief, ensured staff understand their roles and are skilled and comfortable with carrying out their tasks.

Remote surveillance, particularly in corporate setting is indicative of the lack of trust from employers, insecure and ineffective managers and a mistrust in other sections such as HR .

I am not naïve and believe every single employee is totally honest with their time but I contest providing the work is completed correctly and on time the when, where and how it is completed has NO bearing. Anything more than requiring tasks to be submitted to satisfaction is intrusion.