Yesterday, I started a role, as a contractor, that was sold to me as a home based job. I accepted this job at £50pd below my previous rate due to its home based nature.

I’m now told on day 1 that I’ll have to report into office 5 days a week for the foreseeable future (contract duration).

Being based in London means commute is a sizeable part of the equation.

What do I do?

EDIT: Had a straight conversation with both the manager and the agent. Pay was increased by £50 effective today. New contract will be issued in a day. Thanks to everyone’s advice.

FURTHER EDIT: The Friday of the same week, I was asked to report for work, daily, at a different location, which would take an hour and a half by train, from where I currently live. As soon as the question was put forth, I got up, gave the manager a piece of my mind, left the laptop on the desk and walked out. A terrible ordeal and a valuable lesson learned.

The advertisement clearly stated home-based. That the job was home based formed the crux of all discussions related to pay, etc. However the contract does not explicitly state home based. It has both onsite and home addresses for work locations.

  • 65
    Do you have any written evidence?
    – deviantfan
    Jul 24, 2018 at 2:47
  • 3
    What does the contract say? Did you sign already or does "acceptance" mean an informal "yes" only? Jul 24, 2018 at 5:00
  • 2
    Do you have terms that allow you to terminate this engagement from your side immediately?
    – Alper
    Jul 24, 2018 at 7:35
  • 19
    If you want a more detailed answer than that below, you'll have to clarify what outcome you're looking for here: sticking to the remote work, renegotiating comp, getting out of the contract, ...
    – Lilienthal
    Jul 24, 2018 at 8:10
  • 9
    "I’m now told" - How have you been told this? Could it just be a misunderstanding where someone gives you the ordinary information to welcome a new contractor, not accounting for the details of your specific deal?
    – Alex
    Jul 24, 2018 at 12:55

6 Answers 6


You tell them the truth - that had they been honest about being required to be on-site you would have quoted them a different rate and you need to renegotiate the contract if you are to proceed. Don't take this lying down.

  • 46
    Yes, as a contractor you have a lot more leverage, so use it.
    – Kilisi
    Jul 24, 2018 at 11:57
  • 21
    Hopefully you still have the advertisement as proof - not having it in your contract is a little bit damaging, but if you still at least have evidence that it was advertised and sold to you as a work-at-home position, you have some ground to stand on.
    – Zibbobz
    Jul 24, 2018 at 13:18

Terminate the contract and move on, learning the lesson to make sure such things are in written into the contract in future, where they make a material difference to the viability of the contract from your point of view.

If this is how they treat you on day one, are they going to pay your invoices on time? Will they even pay your last invoice? Unfortunately some clients/businesses are just out to get everything they can. The trick is to spot them up-front or early on and find somewhere else to work.

  • 11
    That seems a bit unforgiving, this can easily be caused by the guys doing the advertising not talking to the guys wanting to hire. It happens, especially in medium sized companies that have seen rapid growth. If I had a full calendar I agree, turn it down, but if you are in a lull of opportunities, I'd not drop them on this alone.
    – Stian
    Jul 24, 2018 at 16:45
  • 3
    @StianYttervik "That the job was home based formed the crux of all discussions related to pay, etc. " the interviews also mentioned working from home
    – user87779
    Jul 24, 2018 at 17:32
  • 1
    @StianYttervik "his can easily be caused by the guys doing the advertising not talking to the guys wanting to hire. " Ya, I really wouldn't care if it were me. Its not the OPs problem; if this is the case, the company needs to get its shit together.
    – Andy
    Jul 26, 2018 at 23:17
  • 1
    @Andy common mistake: It is not the OP's fault, but it most certainly is their problem since it directly affects their income & livelihood. This is a somewhat bad answer since it ignores that aspect completely.
    – user30031
    Jul 27, 2018 at 3:20
  • 1
    Given that the asker does not seem to have any problem with working in the office, except that he wants to get paid for it, I find this answer simply lacking. -- Assuming that the work in the office was not communicated earlier out of malice is really assuming the worst, perhaps the requirements or evaluation of circumstances simply changed. Jul 27, 2018 at 12:38

You talk to your manager. You tell him that the deal was working from home. And you tell him that he has three choices: You are working from home, or he adds the £50 a day, or they can go and look for another contractor.

You also call your agency and tell them that they are trying to stiff you. Remember that your agent only gets money if you start at the company, and stay for some amount of time. So your agent will do everything to try to help you put pressure on them, and if you leave because of the company's behaviour then the company will have to look for another agency as well.

  • 19
    Calling the agent (if there was one) is definitely the way to go. They likely know who to speak to and how to speak to them to get the best results, and they'll do all of this extra (potentially stressful) work for you for free, because it protects their commission. It's also possible this is all just a misunderstanding, e.g. maybe they just expect you on-site for a couple of weeks, and it's less embarrassing if your agent raises it. Just make it clear that being in the office at that rate is a deal breaker, they either need to compensate you appropriately or let you work from home.
    – delinear
    Jul 24, 2018 at 11:56
  • 2
    Working with the agency is good, if you have one. The OP hasn't made it clear whether they have a contracting agency or are acting as an independent contractor. I suspect the latter.
    – David K
    Jul 24, 2018 at 12:00
  • 3
    Actually no. He has 2 choises: he adds 50, AND work from home. If not, work from office for +50 AND doubple on top. Once a liar, always a liar and I for example never work for ppl like that. Unless they pay me outragous. Cheated me: THAT is the fine. Pay me a lot more or i go somewhere else. Oh, that is a 10 minute offer. WHile i pack.
    – TomTom
    Jul 24, 2018 at 12:54
  • 3
    Alternative 3 actually: Contract is in force. Work from home. As such, commuting ime required is full work time, and commuting costs are full on top. Oh, that is nice ;) actually. Fullfill the contract - do what they ask, and itf it is "spend time travelling" do it.
    – TomTom
    Jul 24, 2018 at 12:56
  • 1
    @mathreadler Working in London means you can NOT work on your commute. Absolutely impossible.
    – gnasher729
    Jul 28, 2018 at 22:42

Ask for a meeting with your employer, explain that you expected to be working from home and predicated a lot of decisions based on it. If it's a deal-breaker, make that clear, if it's affecting your income due to travel emphasise this.

Have a clear goal. Do you want more money or is it simply untenable to work from the office regardless?

If you want more money then ask for it, If you can't support working from the office full-time, then explain that.

Make it clear that things have to change.

If your contract is held up as reason not to change, emphasise that you believe it was mis-sold to you and consequently under false-pretense and potentially null-and-void because of it.
Regardless of what it says in your contract, your newfound situation is not satisfactory and no amount of words on paper are going to help that.

If you have any records of conversations where they said you'd be working from home then you should have them to hand for this meeting.

Ultimately, they need you a LOT more than you need them. You can walk away and get a new contract in short order, they'll have to find someone new at short notice when they're already expecting to be working, which will set their project back.

You have power here as long as the contract doesn't explicitly say you're expected to work from the office, and even then you should be able to swing it.

Get it changed, get what you want from it, or walk away.

Sort this out quickly, nobody wants it to snowball into a huge battle.

  • 2
    Your last line is the most important part of this answer to keep in mind I think Jul 24, 2018 at 14:52
  • The OP is a contractor - they are their own employer. The issue is with the client. Jul 24, 2018 at 14:52
  • 1
    A Contract Employee is not the same as being self-employed with clients. A contract employee joins and leaves a company, a self-employed individual contracted for a job has their own distinct business identity from start to finish and has somewhat different rights around it. Jul 24, 2018 at 15:27
  • Assuming this goes well for OP, I really like the getting the contract changed part of this answer, until it's in writing, it's all hearsay and OP can get screwed over again a couple months down the road and lose the WFH for more reasons than I care to state (Just takes a Mayer).
    – RandomUs1r
    Jul 24, 2018 at 17:13
  • 1
    @Ruadhan2300 What you say is right but normally a contractor or freelancer is a employed by a limited liability company that they have a majority share holding in. This is importantly different from self employment, especially if the company gets sued.
    – Jodrell
    Jul 27, 2018 at 7:21

If WFH is in your contract, consider that contract broken on their end if they try to force you to work in office. If working in the office is in your contract and you signed it, you haven't got much of a leg to stand on unless they severely mislead you (i.e. claiming the contract was the same as an example one they showed you earlier but it was actually different).

If the contract is unclear, you are still protected by advertising standards and laws should anything negative arise from you simply insisting that you work from home. It's probably worth getting in touch with an ombudsman for proper legal advice too.

It goes without saying but don't accept contracts from this company in future!

  • 4
    Acutally no. One laternative. Contract says work from home. They demand work from office? Well, guess what - work starts and ends the moment you leave home AS PER CONTRACT. COmmunite time is fully paid. As are additional costs that this incurs.
    – TomTom
    Jul 24, 2018 at 12:55
  • 1
    @TomTom op has said that the contract does NOT exactly say wfh "However the contract does not explicitly state home based. It has both onsite and home addresses for work locations."
    – user87779
    Jul 24, 2018 at 17:38
  • Yeah. Walk out time.
    – TomTom
    Jul 24, 2018 at 18:38
  • @TomTom I had a client that turned into a PITA. I had never been onsite even though they are only 1.5 hours away. Someone new took over, and thought the only way we could resolve an issue they were having was if I was on site to talk to their people. I said I would but I'd expect my hourly rate the minute I walked out the door and normal mileage expenses. Suddenly it wasn't important that I be onsite.
    – Andy
    Jul 26, 2018 at 23:22

Along with the other good answers, I'm going to make one more suggestion.

It's possible that your new employer wants you in-house while you are getting "up to speed" on your new role. Once you get to some sufficient level of understanding of the role, they should allow you to work from home, as the ad stated.

As others stated, I would suggest you start with talking with your manager and ask them why they changed their mind about your work location. I would advise against bringing up my suggestion, since they may latch onto it as if that's what there intention was. If they bring it up, it's much more likely the real reason.

However, make sure you set some (reasonable) goals with the manager, if this is the case. You don't want to be working there a year and still not working at home, as that could set a precedence against your possible fraud case against your employer.

Make sure you document any goals set and what you do to meet those goals. If the goals change, document it and whether you agreed with the goals.

Also, as someone else mentioned, make them pay extra for you to be in their office and pay for your travel time and/or mileage. This helps make sure they are getting an incentive to having you work from home (by paying you less).

Since working in their office is something outside of their job posting, you should be getting rewarded for it and they should be willing to hold up their end of the bargain on, once you meet agreed upon goals.

If they aren't willing to pay you more, set goals, or work with you on getting you what they advertised, then I'd start talking with a lawyer. Assuming it's a breach of contract and not starting may be a breach of contract on your part. Also, starting the job (if it is their breach of contract) may imply that you are fine with the change, and may cause you issues if/when you do file a suit.

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