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National Work From Home Day 2019: When is it and who can take part?

Here's everything you need to know

Sarah Young
Friday 17 May 2019 07:05 BST

If your journey to work seems a little quieter this Friday 17 May, it’s not necessarily because your fellow commuters are calling in sick or skiving to watch last week’s Game of Thrones episode.

Instead, employees across the UK may have decided to take advantage of National Work from Home Day, an initiative organised by Work Wise UK – a non-profit organisation whose primary mission is to introduce smarter working practices around the country.

In what could be the largest mass absence from work for many companies ever, the idea of the day is to demonstrate that giving people the freedom to work from home from time-to-time can benefit both employer and employee, saving office costs, easing transport congestion and managing workloads more effectively.

Here's everything you need to know about National Work from Home Day, from when it is and who can take part to whether it’s really more productive.

When is National Work from Home Day?

This year, Work Wise Week is running from 12-18 May, with the Friday (17) designated to official National Work from Home Day.

Work Wise first launched in 2006 and has been inviting invite employers, employees and the self employed to take part in its initiative ever since.

What does it mean?

According to the UK government, flexible working is described as a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, for example having flexible start and finish times, or working from home.

Jobsite Glassdoor recently created a list of the best companies that embrace flexible working as part of their culture, including Vodafone, Unilever and Transport for London.

Who can take part?

All employees have the legal right to request flexible working, the UK government states.

However, employees must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks to be eligible.

That said, some companies may already be aware of National Work from Home Day and therefore be more flexible when it comes to remote working for that one day.

How do I request to work from home?

Receiving permission to work from home will differ from company to company, and if your employer is already on-board with National Work from Home Day, it may be as simple as having a quick conversation by the water cooler.

However, if your company requires a more formal request or flexible working is something you would like to consider long-term, the UK government says there are some basic steps you need to follow:

  • The employee writes to the employer.
  • The employer considers the request and makes a decision within three months - or longer if agreed with the employee.
  • If the employer agrees to the request, they must change the terms and conditions in the employee’s contract.
  • If the employer disagrees, they must write to the employee giving the business reasons for the refusal. The employee may be able to complain to an employment tribunal.
  • Employees can only make one application for flexible working a year.

How many people currently work from home?

According to recent research, more than four million Britons have abandoned the workplace in favour of working from home, with a surge of 800,000 people becoming home workers over the past decade.

The analysis of Government figures by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) revealed the total number regularly working from home is now approximately 4.2 million – up from 3.4m in 2005.

And the proportion of people working from home now accounts for 13.7 per cent of the workforce – up from 12 per cent in 2005 – according to the examination of data from the Office for National Statistics.

Is working from home really more productive?

More and more staff and companies are embracing working from home, but does it achieve the same results as working in the office? According to a number of recent studies, yes.

New research by YouGov revealed that a fifth (20 per cent) of HR managers believe that staff work to a slightly higher standard at home than they do in the office, and a further seven per cent believe they work to a “much higher” standard.

A similar study by FlexJobs, found that fewer distractions (75 per cent), fewer interruptions from colleagues (74 per cent), reduced stress from commuting (71 per cent), and minimal office politics (65 per cent) were among the top reasons employees named for why they believed working from home is more productive.

Read More: The best standing desks for home working

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