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I have recently been granted 1 day a week working from home as a reasonable adjustment under the Equality act, as I suffer from Mental Health Issues in addition to ad hoc days which are already grantable like they are to everyone else.

Since I've been taking these remote days, I have had repeated phone calls, emails and instant messages asking for progress updates and the like - this only ever happens when I work from home and said manager doesn't say anything when I work in the office (currently 2-3 days a week depending on the state of my mental health, which was agreed with HR) and everyone else I work with who is involved in the implementation and testing of the work, is happy with it.

I feel that he is victimising me because of my mental health issues - moreover, because of the fact I need to work from home as a result of that.

How can I deal with this effectively - considering I have already raised a grievance about this person and spoken at length with HR about it?

  • Does working from home affect your productivity? – lawful_neutral Jun 22 at 18:18
  • No - I'm just as productive working from home as I am in the office, if not more so because I can better manage my symptoms. – Captain_Custard Jun 22 at 18:19
  • Can you more precisely define "recently"? 1 week, 1 month? – Johns-305 Jun 23 at 13:40
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    @JoeStrazzere: If the boss always checked in on them, I'd agree with you. But only being interested in progress when OP is working from home seems like willful interference targeted at OP, which is victimisation. It makes no sense for the boss to genuinely be interested in OP's progress on a WFH day if they are not interested in OP's progress when OP is in the office. From the manager's side, it may be pure WFH paranoia and not targeted at OP specifically, but from OP's perspective, it sure looks like victimization right now. – Flater Jun 24 at 10:13
  • That is precisely my point! – Captain_Custard Jun 24 at 12:22
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You should discuss your concern with your manager, and possibly engage HR to ensure the accommodation is implemented in a mutually agreeable way.

Have an in-person conversation with your manager about the extra status updates. Let him/her know that they feel different and intrusive compared to how you work together in the office and suggest an alternative (perhaps a 2x/day check-in call).

If the behavior of your manager doesn’t change with some feedback and discussion, you should engage your HR team to help mediate the discussion. This is probably new ground for your manager, so some outside help might be a good way to quickly make everyone happy.

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Working from home means working - just from your home.

It is harder to monitor what you’re doing remotely, which is why the company doesn’t just have everyone working from home all the time. So you need to expect additional requests for status and communications basically to try and ensure you are really working and getting things done as you would in the office. Your boss is clearly concerned that you are not, or at least feels like he has less information about it than when you’re in the office.

This is normal and to be expected.

Feel free and propose a less disruptive method of providing status to your manager, but it’s also on you to build trust that WFH home days aren’t really just sick days; per this agreement they are due a full day’s work and I think if you put yourself in the manager’s shoes you can see how they wouldn’t be sure they were going to get that and would look for ways to verify it.

When I work from home, I’m a little more proactive about communication to close that gap. When I start in the morning I say hi to everyone in Slack. I send FYI/question emails to my boss about what I’m working on. I cc: him a little more on other communications. This way he knows what progress is being made without having to ask all the time. I still probably get quizzed once a day on “how things are going” in addition to the daily standup, but again, that’s what they’re paying me for. It’s not my favorite part of my daily work, but an organization lives on the people in charge understanding what their team is getting done and so it needs to be done.

Try to understand the company’s and your manager’s needs and not just your own, and you can probably come up with ways to make both of you happy given that understanding. Focusing on just your needs seems to be resulting in a dynamic that is making both of you unhappy (he’s not asking you for updates all the time for kicks).

  • They can either trust me to do a job or they can't - if I say I'll do something by a certain day or time, I will and that is all that matters. – Captain_Custard Jun 24 at 17:31
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If it was me personally I would speak a mental health advocate organisation FIRST. To be honest with you the possible micro management could be also viewed as 'harassment' due to your mental condition.

I'm not saying that is the case, just that this is causing you discomfort and you want a resolution so you can focus on your job.

I don't know where are based, however In the UK, we have organisations such as MIND who advocate the rights for those who suffer from mental illness. I'm certain your country's has its own equivalent, if you do have such an organisation, I'm sure they would help and advise you on the best way to handle this situation.

If you needed to speak to HR it's good to have advocate who can speak to HR in the same language.

Also, keep a note of EVERY TIME you receive a communication from your manager (also what the message was about), while working from home.

Firstly, it's quantifiable evidence that if something is wrong there it shows a consistent and persistent pattern. Secondly, if you decide to go to HR (which I wouldn't do without proof. There is no such thing as the truth only what you can PROVE) you can show evidence that something is 'off' so to speak.

Third and final, think about the object of any possible meeting with HR and what you want to get out of it. You also want to find out 'why' your manager is constantly contacting when you are working from home. If he has concerns then he/she, you + your advocate (if you can get one) and HR can sit down and hear these concerns and reach an agreement which works for all parties.

The key role of HR is to protect the business, not to protect the employee so DON'T go into any possible HR situation without a strategy

All the best

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