Hybrid Working FAQs
We have put together some frequently asked questions on hybrid working. If your question is not here please contact us and we can update these FAQs.
Q: What is Unite’s position on hybrid / 40% in the office?
A: Everyone’s circumstances are different. Some people will just not be able to do the requirement for a whole number of reasons; location, caring, travel, and more. We will support anyone who cannot commit to more time in the office but understand that the bank want people back in the office on a regular basis to meet up with their team. Unite’s position is that time in the office should be purposeful. Anyone who is concerned about their ability to meet the requirement should contact your nearest rep and discuss with them.
Q: I’m going to struggle to meet the requirements, what do I do?
A: Speak to your line manager. There should be no blanket approach and your LM should take your personal circumstances seriously. You can check in with a Unite rep, to see how your circumstances have been dealt with in other departments, or if there is any advice we can give you when approaching your conversation. There may be tailored support that we can signpost that you ask for when having your conversation.
Q: Is my place of work a contractual term?
A: This will all depend on certain circumstances. For example, an insurance claim assessor will be home based as they will need to go into customers’ properties from time to time to assess claims. Working at home does not always give you the contractual right to continue working from home but there are instances in which Unite believe that there will be a contractual right to this even if not stated expressly.
Q: Could homeworking become an implied contractual term?
A: If you’ve previously had a homeworking contract and this is/has been changed without your consent then this may be a contractual issue. There’s less of a contractual element when the reason for starting home working was due to government instructions in the pandemic. However, depending on what conversations you’ve had with management in the meantime you may be justified in thinking that this is a contractual issue. As with compressed hours, this will have to be assessed by Unite’s legal dept on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Can I say no to coming into the office 40% of the time?
Q: Should there be a reason for me to come into the office?
A: When hybrid working first came about, we were told to abide by “the three Ps”: Purpose, Planning and Planet. There should have been a purpose to you coming into the office, you should be able to plan what days you attend, and we should be thinking about sustainability when we make plans.
These principles shouldn’t really have changed massively. To come into the office to do exactly what you’d be doing at home and not mixing with anyone would be a waste. Collaborating with your team or even wider teams should be considered when planning office time. The chance of bumping into someone at the water machine leading to a change in the way we do business doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to disrupt people’s lives.
Q: What if I’ve approached my line manager and they can’t/won’t help me?
A: Speak to a Unite rep about your situation. Our reps have been helping people in this scenario for the last year or so, since some departments mandated office time at the start of 2022. We can help resolve issues between you or your line manager, escalate further if your line manager needs support, or support you with a grievance if it gets to that point. Contact LBG.Support@unitetheunion.org if you do not know who your Unite Rep is or contact our helpline on 0808 144 9595 with your membership number and contact information.
Q: Will there be a collective grievance on the issue, such as the one on compressed hours?
A: The feelings that we’re experiencing from members is different from issue to issue. At the time of print, there has not been that call from members that requires further collective action. We are seeing some good agreements being struck between colleagues and their managers and are highlighting the positive scenarios so that they can become the norm.
Q: I work in a customer care archetype, I’ve been told I’m exempt – is this true?
A: As things stand, customer care colleagues aren’t mandated to the office requirements, partly due to the geographical layout of their teams. We still expect colleagues to have a conversation where they are aligned to a hub, and for team events to be planned so that everyone feels included, but this is a harder ask. This is not to say that there will be no requirement in the future.
Q: Can I just use a branch to work out of?
A: We have raised with the bank that this change is being implemented without the infrastructure required to make it work properly. There are only limited branches that any colleague can go into and work out of, and due to logistics you can’t just walk up to a standard branch and expect to work there from 8am-5pm – the branch may not be open at these times. We do keep pressing branch leadership to reform the branch network and utilise the space we have to allow remote colleagues to work from the buildings, instead of closing branches. We will keep members updated on this.
Q: How do I log a grievance via HR Online?