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Interim Homeworking Scheme – FAQ

Here you’ll find answers to some of the common questions asked about the Interim Homeworking Scheme.

Can I refuse to work from home?

Yes, however your line manager will arrange to meet with you to discuss the reasons why you are refusing to work from home. Through this discussion, it is anticipated that any issues will be resolved that are concerning you about working from home.

Can I walk my dog during working hours whilst working from home?

Any changes to your normal working pattern or hours, should be discussed and agreed with your line manager.

My child is ill and I am working from home?

If you are unable to carry out your normal duties due to caring responsibilities, the normal provisions within the Special Leave Policy will apply.

I live in a rented house and there is nowhere for me to work in the house, what should I do?

You should discuss this situation with your line manager who will make alternative arrangements for you.

Can I work my hours any way I like whilst working from home as long as my work is done?

No, you will need to discuss any changes to your normal working pattern/hours with your line manager and where appropriate, consider making an application to change your working hours or pattern through the Smarter Working Policy.

I don’t like working from home, can I come into an office?

If you are struggling to work from home, you should discuss this with your line manager in the first instance who will provide you with the necessary support and assistance.

Can my manager contact me at all hours of the day when working from home?

No, your manager should only contact you during your normal working hours. However, there may be occasions when an emergency situation occurs that requires them to contact you out with your normal working hours.

How do I claim travelling expenses for attending meetings?

Expenses claims should be submitted via mySelf and authorised via myTeam. Line managers should ensure employees have appropriate business insurance for work related journeys when travelling in personal vehicles.

I don’t want to use my car to travel to meetings and I cannot get a pool car, can I refuse to attend meetings?

No, if your job requires you to attend sites or offices, you will need to find an alternative way to travel there, that may mean using public transport, walking or cycling.

What happens if I lose internet or have a power cut?

Where there is any break in this service liable to last longer than two hours, you should contact your line manager in the first instance who will advise on what you should do. Whilst the government advice remains that where possible people should be working from home, you should not go to an office without seeking permission from your line manager beforehand.

Who is responsible for my insurance when working from home?

You will be responsible for seeking confirmation from your domestic insurance company that your domestic insurance policy has been noted, or adjusted, if necessary. It is not anticipated that there will be an additional cost to home insurance for working from home.

Where do I see the results of my DSE?

You can view their DSE assessment via myself. If you have any concerns about your DSE, please discuss this with your line manager at the earliest possible point.

Where should I store confidential information?

You are responsible for the security of all Council information, files, documents, etc. in your possession and for ensuring there is no unauthorised access to such information. All information held should be treated in confidence, should not be inappropriately disclosed, and should be in accordance with the Council’s Acceptable Use of ICT Policy, the Council’s Policy on Data Protection and the Council’s Policy on Information Security. Advice is available from your line manager and on myNL.

Where should I dispose of confidential information?

All confidential waste should be disposed of in a confidential waste bin or bag. Line managers will confirm where these are located for you to use.

Will working from home affect my Smarter Working pattern?


Will my contract be changed to reflect working from home?

You will be issued with a variation to contract advising of your new work location. This change is temporary for a period of six months in the first instance.

Who should I contact to arrange the removal of equipment from the office?

You should contact your line manager to arrange the removal of equipment from the office.

Who will be responsible for removing the equipment from the office?

Your line manager will discuss and agree this with you, but in most cases employees have been able to collect their own equipment from the office.

What if I cannot drive and can’t get the equipment from the office to my home?

You should contact your line manager who will make arrangements for the delivery of your equipment.

Who is responsible if equipment is damaged out with the office?

It is your responsibility to take care of all property of the council and any damages to this property should be reported to your line/relevant manager.

I am experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse and feel more anxious and fearful now that I must work at home – what can I do?

You may or may not have previously made your line manager aware of your personal circumstances, and there is no requirement for you to do this. It may however help to keep you (and your children) safe in the current circumstances. If this is something you would find beneficial please discuss with your line manager as soon as possible, when it is safe to do so. In a situation of potential risk, use an agreed phrase to alert your manager. Agree with your manager in advance the phrase to use and action to take if this alert is used – for example the manager can call 999 for you or call an emergency contact of your choice.
If you feel that homeworking is not a safe and viable option for you, then you can speak with your line manager to make alternative arrangements such as working from a local office.

The following link also can also provide help in these difficult circumstances. Click here for additional help and support.

The Council also has in place specially trained gender based violence support officers who can support any employee experiencing domestic abuse or any other form of gender based violence in confidence.
They can be contacted through the GBV mailbox or individually:

Audrey Cameron 07793 598962
Alison Clarke 07939 280725
Laura Moffat 07903 330675
Helen Sneddon 07793 598940

Can I arrange to work from another location other than my home? (if I am still within reach of a local office should I experience technical problems)

You need to discuss this with your line manager in the first instance as the default position remains that those who can work from home should continue to do so.

What if I experience performance issues with any members of my team whilst homeworking?

Performance issues should be addressed in accordance with the current guidance. Manager’s should in the first instance speak with their direct reports and ensure that all supportive measures are in place. Employees and managers can also seek the support of the Employee Relations team if these issues cannot be resolved.

What if I have specialist equipment – can this be removed from the office?

Office equipment will be made available for you, however if there is any issue with this, then speak directly to your line manager. If it anyway it cannot be accommodated, your line manager will allocate an office location suitable for you to work from.

What if working from home results in increased costs or implications on my home insurance or mortgage?

It is not anticipated that working from home will impact on either domestic home insurance or mortgages, however should this happen then please discuss directly with your line manager. The scheme will be reviewed on a regular basis with issues like this being assessed.

How do I update itrent with the log of equipment that staff are using?

Click here for guidance on how to update.

Can I take a desk from the office?

This may not be practical as most office desks are too big for the home but if you need a desk and are having difficulty sourcing one, discuss this with your line manager. You may be able to access the one off allowance for this purpose.

I am being harassed or bullied by a manager/colleague when working from home, what do I do?

Conduct and behaviour whilst working from home should remain professional and respectful at all times. However if you feel you are being subject to inappropriate behaviour, you should refer to the Dignity at Work Policy and contact a support officer to discuss your situation. Advice can also be sought from Employee Relations.

I am not feeling well, but as I am working from home, can I just log on and check emails now and again?

If you are not well enough to carry out your full duties, you should contact your line manager to discuss whether or not lighter duties can be accommodated for the day or alternatively you should be recorded as absence from work.

Can I wear my casual clothes when working from home?

The Employee Code of Conduct applies to those working from home and in an office. It is expected that you will be dressed smart casual when working from home. Find the code of conduct here.

Can we still get flexitime?

Yes but the same rules apply in that any flexi time must be approved by your line manager.

What breaks am I entitled to when working from home?

An employees working hours at home should largely mirror those normally undertaken in the office, unless otherwise agreed by the line manager. These working hours can vary to accommodate work life balance arrangements, if agreed with the line manager and in line with the Smarter Working policy.

Employees involved in this scheme can still apply to change their working hours or pattern on a permanent or temporary basis through the Council’s Smarter Working Policy.

The Council requires employees who are working more than 6 hours to take the minimum of 30 mins break. Managers should ensure that employees who work more than 6 hours in per day and are working from home get the opportunity to have an adequate break from their desk where appropriate.

Updated on 15th July 2024

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