When the pandemic lifted in 2021, we were all advise that 2-3 days office attendance was required, however this was a email sent from the CEO, with no policy in place.
Managers used their discretion, and in my team, we were allowed to WFH from October 2021-May 2023 with adhoc meetups in the office if required.
From January 2023, my employer launched a Hybrid policy, whereby we were now required to attend the office 2 days a week.
The flexible working application prior to January 2023 allowed my manager to directly approve formal Work from home contractual changes. From January 2023 this was changed whereby this now needs director approval alongside HR approval.
The flexible policy has also been changed to stipulate only exceptional request under the “Equality act 2010” will be considered if direct or in association.
Since October 2021, I made the decision to undertake caring for my elderly parent who is 82, whereby me being in the home during the day allowed supervision and oversight of him. This allowed the safety of him. He does not have a disability, but is forgetful as to leaving doors open, cooking stoves on, taps running, and tries to undertake tasks which causes safety concerns. Although English is not his first language he does find it hard to take things in and communicate to others on occasions.
I had some discussion with my manager, and was led to believe an informal arrangement could be met, on perhaps me attending the office 2 days every other week. This allowed from me to find cover during this period for someone to be present in the home.
I have now been advise the informal arrangement can not be met, and 2 days office attendance is required.
I feel I want to make clear for future arrangement, and so think its best for me to apply for a formal 2 days a week, incase they change this again to 3 or 4 days office attendance.
My manager advise me to leave it and cross the bridge when the time comes, however I feel that my employer keeps on further enhancing the policy that allows my manager very little wiggle room and no approval authority.
Our Hybrid policy has been changed/enhanced 4 times in 2023, since being launched to further stipulate that eldercare is not accepted unless “Equality Act 2010” and the managers guide has further been adopted to include the reason for rejection can fit into the following reason:
• “there are planned changes to the business, for example, your employer plans to reorganise or change the business and thinks the request will not fit with these plans”
This feels to me that my manager is not able to help me, and my company will not support my application.
I’m getting anxious as to what will be expected of me in the future, as I have already arrange cover for 2 days after a very difficult situation.
Does anyone have any advice on way forward, or do you think I should carry on with my managers flexibility for now. I just feel exhausted at the moment mentally trying to think of all the avenues I could take and what my options could be. I enjoy my job and I am able to do this successfully remotely as proven over 4 years, (or 18 months post pandemic), and feel I would not be productive in the office as my mind will be playing as to how my father, and if an accident was to happen, never forgive myself