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Forced to work from home

  • 24-05-2021 10:23pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 3,150 ✭✭✭ Padre_Pio


    Just got word today that work is downsizing their offices and the COVID work from home policy is going to be a near-permanent WHF policy.

    Basically, the new office will only have hot desks, maybe half as many as there are staff. Employees have to book a desk in advance if they need to come into the office, but your permanent desk is expected to be in your own home.

    There's uproar from certain people, but the response is basically put up and shut up.
    Personally, there's no mention of home working in my contract. I was looking forward to getting back into the office and I barely have the space for a desk where I'm living at the moment, never mind a full setup.

    Anyone have any experience of this? Places like Google and Facebook have said they're looking at similar policies. Any ideas how that went down with staff?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 709 ✭✭✭ lashes34


    No idea what the reaction was in the mentioned companies but imagine it's going to be common from now on. I don't think it's going to be enforced in our office but the boss said he doesn't care where we work as long as it gets done. Personally I'll mainly work from home but it suits me better.

    If there is 50% space then I'm sure you can request working from the office, it may not be approved but push it if that's what works for you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,474 ✭✭✭ floorpie


    I'm also hearing rumours of the same thing in my place.

    Will I be paid for the company's use of my facilities (room, equipment, electricity, heating etc)? Or is this essentially a permanent pay cut and worse conditions?

    I'm especially annoyed that it seems like they'll mandate a day or two in office a week. So not only will the employer get free use of my rented house, but I can't even move to a low cost area of the country.

    I'm very annoyed by the whole thing but it seems most people are in favour of WFH.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,998 ✭✭✭ DaCor


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are changing from assigned desks in work to all hot desks that must be booked in advance, thats all

    If you want to go to the office, book a desk, thats it

    Or am I missing something?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,676 ✭✭✭ woody22


    Padre_Pio wrote: »
    Just got word today that work is downsizing their offices and the COVID work from home policy is going to be a near-permanent WHF policy.

    Basically, the new office will only have hot desks, maybe half as many as there are staff. Employees have to book a desk in advance if they need to come into the office, but your permanent desk is expected to be in your own home.

    There's uproar from certain people, but the response is basically put up and shut up.
    Personally, there's no mention of home working in my contract. I was looking forward to getting back into the office and I barely have the space for a desk where I'm living at the moment, never mind a full setup.

    Anyone have any experience of this? Places like Google and Facebook have said they're looking at similar policies. Any ideas how that went down with staff?

    Hot desks have been standard in loads of companies for a long time. Once you have accounted for those on holiday plus those that want to stay home some days, then you’ll find that you need many fewer desks than staff. Google and Facebook, like many MNCs, will have been doing flexible working for many years

    Just because there are 50% fewer desks than people, it doesn’t follow that you will only be able to go into the office 50% of the time

    In fact, it makes no sense for any company to maintain 1 desk per person. Just a waste of money


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,150 ✭✭✭ Padre_Pio


    From what I've been told, the hot desk system is like a library. Not guaranteed the same desk, so I'll have to bring everything in and out of work each day. I have equipment that's not very portable too, so I'll need a trolley. About a quarter of the staff are in the same boat as me.

    There was talk that the quarter would have permanent desk space (which also comes with storage and shelves) but that leaves 75% of employees vying for 25% of the space, so it was denied.

    I'll have to see how things pan out, but it feels like a kick in the teeth after a year of working from home with COVID. I was prepared to give up space in my house, since there was no option, but I feel like I'm being taken advantage of now.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,818 ✭✭✭ Darc19


    Padre_Pio wrote: »
    From what I've been told, the hot desk system is like a library. Not guaranteed the same desk, so I'll have to bring everything in and out of work each day. I have equipment that's not very portable too, so I'll need a trolley. About a quarter of the staff are in the same boat as me.
    I'll have to see how things pan out, but it feels like a kick in the teeth after a year of working from home with COVID. I was prepared to give up space in my house, since there was no option, but I feel like I'm being taken advantage of now.

    That's how hot desking works.

    Many people are afraid of change, but a few months later they wonder why it wasn't done years ago.

    Covid has advanced change dramatically and it has been beneficial to most people.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,474 ✭✭✭ floorpie


    woody22 wrote: »
    Hot desks have been standard in loads of companies for a long time.

    They've been standard in some places but you were essentially assured a space to work, which you wouldn't be here. As OP said, your permanent desk is now expected to be in your home. Has this been standard anywhere in e.g. Dublin pre-Covid?
    DaCor wrote: »
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are changing from assigned desks in work to all hot desks that must be booked in advance, thats all

    If you want to go to the office, book a desk, thats it

    Or am I missing something?

    Yes you're missing that you wont be guaranteed a space and therefore your desk is now expected to be in your home, and you'll cover the associated costs for the company.


  • Registered Users Posts: 38,249 ✭✭✭✭ Guy:Incognito


    Are people that commute to work not delighted to have 2+ hours extra every day of time back by working from home? (plus associated cost savings) .

    Can a raise to cover higher bills directly resulting from work not be negotiated, especially seeing as the company will be making large savings?


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,411 ✭✭✭✭ Stark


    Before covid there were laws that meant the employer had to ensure an employee had an ergonomic workspace at home before they were allowed WFH on a regular basis. Obviously all that got waived with pandemic emergency but I imagine that duty of care will return once the pandemic is over.

    I imagine for young employees living in shared rented accommodation, their at-home workspaces are far from meeting the ergonomic requirements.
    Are people that commute to work not delighted to have 2+ hours extra every day of time back by working from home? (plus associated cost savings) .

    I imagine people will largely fall into two camps. Older workers with families living in the commuter belt who will probably appreciate the increased flexibility of WFH when it comes to school/creche runs, not having to commute etc. And the younger workers living in cramped accommodation closer to the city who will want to get out of the house and into an environment that's setup for working and opportunities to socialise.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,676 ✭✭✭ woody22


    floorpie wrote: »
    They've been standard in some places but you were essentially assured a space to work, which you wouldn't be here. As OP said, your permanent desk is now expected to be in your home. Has this been standard anywhere in e.g. Dublin pre-Covid?



    Yes you're missing that you wont be guaranteed a space and therefore your desk is now expected to be in your home, and you'll cover the associated costs for the company.

    That’s not quite true: the only way that you’d be 100% assured a place to work is 1 desk per employee. Hotdesking relies on not everyone coming in for one reason or another.....either working from home a couple of days or on holiday or just a day off. If everyone come in, then not everyone has a desk.....as is the case in any hotdesking scenario. So, by definition, your only guaranteed desk is your home.

    The other advantage is that it massively cuts down on waste. As you don’t have your own desk, and limited storage space, I found that I immediately started printing less and gathered less clutter.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,537 ✭✭✭ limnam


    Stark wrote: »
    Before covid there were laws that meant the employer had to ensure an employee had an ergonomic workspace at home before they were allowed WFH on a regular basis. Obviously all that got waived with pandemic emergency but I imagine that duty of care will return once the pandemic is over.

    I imagine for young employees living in shared rented accommodation, their at-home workspaces are far from meeting the ergonomic requirements.

    Can see it now.

    Guard pulling outside the house.

    Well now boss. We've a warrant here to take a look at that secret lab chair we saw in your window to see if it's ergonomic like.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,474 ✭✭✭ floorpie


    Are people that commute to work not delighted to have 2+ hours extra every day of time back by working from home? (plus associated cost savings) .

    It seems to me that people with kids, or who have nice offices at home, love it.

    Personally I'd rather a commute than having to be in my bedroom for 18+ hours a day, and I can't believe companies seem to be segueing into this being "normal" and others defending it


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,770 ✭✭✭ GT89


    limnam wrote: »
    Can see it now.

    Guard pulling outside the house.

    Well now boss. We've a warrant here to take a look at that secret lab chair we saw in your window to see if it's ergonomic like.

    Would be down to the HSA and WRC not the Gardai I'd imagine


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,705 ✭✭✭ micar


    My company had two offices in Dublin....1 city centre and other off the M50.

    Lease on the city centre office was not renewed late last year.

    The other office has space for maybe 500 out of a total of 800.

    WFH 3 days a week and office 2 days a week will be norm going forward.

    It will suit most people.

    The office off M50 has remained open throughout and some of the guys always went in rather than WFH.

    Don't think WFH would be in most people's contracts.

    Most people are glad of the flexibility


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,970 ✭✭✭ blindsider


    Stark wrote: »
    Before covid there were laws that meant the employer had to ensure an employee had an ergonomic workspace at home before they were allowed WFH on a regular basis. Obviously all that got waived with pandemic emergency but I imagine that duty of care will return once the pandemic is over.

    When did it get waived? I don't remember seeing that in the legislation...maybe I missed it...

    Do you have any links etc to support this?


  • Registered Users Posts: 38,249 ✭✭✭✭ Guy:Incognito


    Stark wrote: »



    I imagine people will largely fall into two camps. Older workers with families living in the commuter belt who will probably appreciate the increased flexibility of WFH when it comes to school/creche runs, not having to commute etc. And the younger workers living in cramped accommodation closer to the city who will want to get out of the house and into an environment that's setup for working and opportunities to socialise.

    The second group could use the opportunity to move out a bit further to have more space maybe? No need to commute 5 days a week to work so swap it for 1 or 2 longer trips to socialise at the weekend.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,474 ✭✭✭ floorpie


    woody22 wrote: »
    That’s not quite true: the only way that you’d be 100% assured a place to work is 1 desk per employee. Hotdesking relies on not everyone coming in for one reason or another.....either working from home a couple of days or on holiday or just a day off. If everyone come in, then not everyone has a desk.....as is the case in any hotdesking scenario. So, by definition, your only guaranteed desk is your home.

    The only places I'm aware of that had 100% hot desking, people were on shifts, so they were assured a space. I'm also aware of other places that were in-part permanent and in-part hot desks, but the hot desks were for people who the company knew would likely not be in, so in effect, everyone was assured a space.

    In either case you didn't have to book your hot desk. What's being discussed here is different, which is your permanent desk is at home.
    The other advantage is that it massively cuts down on waste. As you don’t have our own desk, and limited storage space, I found that I immediately started printing less and gathered less clutter.

    I have limited space in my home also and do not want to clutter it with my company's equipment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 413 ✭✭ The DayDream


    They're taking advantage of you by making it so you can basically live your entire life in pajamas if you choose?

    You could always find a job in retail, restaurants, hotels etc if you like being away from home so much. And of course there is always the mines, if the conditions of working from a home office are so oppressive.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,537 ✭✭✭ limnam


    GT89 wrote: »
    Would be down to the HSA and WRC not the Gardai I'd imagine

    How many houses have either knocked on before the pandemic looking for ergonomic reports of home workers?


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,657 ✭✭✭✭ listermint


    Padre_Pio wrote: »
    From what I've been told, the hot desk system is like a library. Not guaranteed the same desk, so I'll have to bring everything in and out of work each day. I have equipment that's not very portable too, so I'll need a trolley. About a quarter of the staff are in the same boat as me.

    There was talk that the quarter would have permanent desk space (which also comes with storage and shelves) but that leaves 75% of employees vying for 25% of the space.

    I'll have to see how things pan out, but it feels like a kick in the teeth after a year of working from home with COVID. I was prepared to give up space in my house, since there was no option, but I feel like I'm being taken advantage of now.

    I may be taking this entirely wrong but your saying your are in a group of staff that most likely will not be impacted at all by this as your more than likely getting a permanent desk due to the nature of your work and equipment...

    .what's the problem.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,778 ✭✭✭ ari101


    I want back in office myself. The routine incl. the commute, sociability, leaving work behind where I can't see it, is part of my mental health. I expect I will have that choice though where I am now, but if I move, I'll be looking for a job with 3+ days a week in office.

    Hot desking should come with peripherals and a set up you can dock into IMO, if it is to work efficiently. With the need to process and review data, for example, a laptop screen is just not big enough to do it efficiently, a separate screen is really required. With a riser and separate keyboard you can fix some of the ergonomics but the screen is too small far away for ease of sight/use for some work. And then docking stations are brand/laptop specific which makes them a problem to fit for hotdesks if your workforce have varied equipment.

    In Dublin commuting requires carrying gear without a car for a lot, which is just not feasible beyond a laptop and charger regularly. It's a mine field.

    I do think wfh has perks to offset some of the 'costs' in facility terms (save on the commute cost and time, no buying lunch out or pre preparing it in morn, get short house chores done during day on breaks) but gosh I also want my dining table back. And if you share a home are you expected to work from bedroom or take up shared space forever, or pay rent for an extra room for an office? Business need to consider that just because they want to kick us out doesn't mean we have realistic places to go. For some people it works well, let them stay home.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,474 ✭✭✭ floorpie


    You could always find a job in retail, restaurants, hotels etc if you like being away from home so much. And of course there is always the mines, if the conditions of working from a home office are so oppressive.

    What home office are you talking about? People are working from kitchen tables and all sorts on my Zoom calls.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,411 ✭✭✭✭ Stark


    blindsider wrote: »
    When did it get waived? I don't remember seeing that in the legislation...maybe I missed it...

    Do you have any links etc to support this?

    My bad. It seems employers still have the same duty of care to remote employees during the pandemic as in normal times. Sounds like this isn't being enforced though judging from all the stories of people working from kitchen chairs in bedrooms and the like and nothing being done about it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,150 ✭✭✭ Padre_Pio


    woody22 wrote: »
    So, by definition, your only guaranteed desk is your home.

    The other advantage is that it massively cuts down on waste. As you don’t have your own desk, and limited storage space, I found that I immediately started printing less and gathered less clutter.

    This is my issue. I don't want to work from home, or live in work as someone more eloquently put it.
    I want to work in a place of work, go to lunch with my colleagues, clock out at 5pm and head home.

    I get that hotdesking works for people whose work fits into a backpack, but mine does not.

    It bugs me that someone saw massive savings in downsizing a building and pushed the costs of office space onto their staff.

    It also worries me that my lease, and I believe nearly every other lease and rental agreement prohibits conducting business from the house. Now, I know this has not been enforced, but I'm sure it may be an easy way for a landlord to initiate an eviction if it ever came to pass.
    listermint wrote: »
    I may be taking this entirely wrong but your saying your are in a group of staff that most likely will not be impacted at all by this as your more than likely getting a permanent desk due to the nature of your work and equipment...

    .what's the problem.

    We asked for permanent desks and were denied.
    Basically say 200 employees, 100 desks.
    50 employees need a permanent desk for laptops, monitors, equipment etc (in our opinion), so that leaves 50 desks for 150 employees, which was a no go.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,537 ✭✭✭ limnam


    Stark wrote: »
    My bad. It seems employers still have the same duty of care to remote employees during the pandemic as in normal times. Sounds like this isn't being enforced though judging from all the stories of people working from kitchen chairs in bedrooms and the like and nothing being done about it.

    Was it enforced pre-Covid?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,212 ✭✭✭ wally1990


    floorpie wrote: »
    What home office are you talking about? People are working from kitchen tables and all sorts on my Zoom calls.

    Yup, I live with wife , my sister and 5 year old niece and 3 dogs now In a smallish house in an estate
    I work at the kitchen table
    Sister works in the front room
    Wife works in the bedroom on the bed
    Nightmare for me as a manager of a team and constantly on calls with clients and colleague's
    Dogs constantly barking at any noise ,
    Niece in and out of the kitchen after 2pm from school
    Wife or sister making lunch or tea (we have different shifts )
    Can't wait to get back to the office


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 991 ✭✭✭ ineedeuro


    Padre_Pio wrote: »
    This is my issue. I don't want to work from home, or live in work as someone more eloquently put it.
    I want to work in a place of work, go to lunch with my colleagues, clock out at 5pm and head home.

    I get that hotdesking works for people whose work fits into a backpack, but mine does not.

    It bugs me that someone saw massive savings in downsizing a building and pushed the costs of office space onto their staff.

    It also worries me that my lease, and I believe nearly every other lease and rental agreement prohibits conducting business from the house. Now, I know this has not been enforced, but I'm sure it may be an easy way for a landlord to initiate an eviction if it ever came to pass.



    We asked for permanent desks and were denied.
    Basically say 200 employees, 100 desks.
    50 employees need a permanent desk for laptops, equipment etc (in our opinion), so that leaves 50 desks for 150 employees, which was a no go.

    You will find your lease means you can’t run a business from the house/apartment

    It will not say you can’t work from home.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,150 ✭✭✭ Padre_Pio


    ineedeuro wrote: »
    You will find your lease means you can’t run a business from the house/apartment

    It will not say you can’t work from home.

    "not to permit any business, trade or profession on or from the property"

    Vague as it gets, but you could argue WFH violates that.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 991 ✭✭✭ ineedeuro


    Padre_Pio wrote: »
    "not to permit any business, trade or profession on or from the property"

    Vague as it gets, but you could argue WFH violates that.

    You could argue. Not sure who would agree with you


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,778 ✭✭✭ ari101


    limnam wrote: »
    Was it enforced pre-Covid?

    No, but I think a lot of employees were so happy the company agreed to their desire to WFH so they set themselves up with a good desk etc. They wanted to be at home and didn't push for more than the agreement that they could do so longer term. Either that or like all of those with flexible employers we did a day here or there when something came up and no one minded because we weren't going to injure ourselves doing one day in the dodgy kitchen chair in our bedroom leaning over the chest of drawers.

    Maybe I'm wrong but that was my experience of people around me working from home. Not saying it is correct either just my take on what used to happen.

    People have, in an emergency situation, made WFH work, so they could keep money in their bank a roof over their head. However I think a lot did it with the expectation it was not long term (weeks we thought, then months, they quarters, 14.5 months later for some...). Just because we have been equally productive doesn't mean we should not be allowed choose to return to the working conditions pre Covid, at some stage, unless they actual endanger health and safety.


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