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Employer changing my office base

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I started a new job in May.  I am doing admin for one firm with two offices. At interview, it was explained to me that the admin was done by a staff member at the other office. She was leaving and the decision was made to bring the admin to the bigger office which is where I now am. Being in the town this office is in was a big pull of accepting the job. Close to home and school with a very short commute time.  After I started, it became clear the reason for moving the admin to the office where I am is because the staff member who left didn’t get through the work, arrived late, took long lunches, sat on the internet etc.  The office I am in is managed with senior staff in place the other isn’t and my employer was very much of the opinion she took the !!!!!!. 

I had an informal chat with the office manager yesterday afternoon, just to check I have been getting all the training I need, is everything making sense etc. I got great feedback. They’ve no concerns with me at all which is fantastic. That said, twice in the conversation it was dropped in that cover is needed at the smaller office and they are looking at how make that happen. Just vague comments but it’s got me a bit concerned that they are going to ask me to spend time at the other office.  

If I am asked, I want to be prepared with a response but I am not sure where I stand here. Travel between offices was never discussed at interview. It was the opposite. They were very firm about moving the role to the office where I am now. I appreciate plans change but I have no interest in travelling 50 plus miles a day to the other office.

My contract has the usual clause about being there for the needs of the business. Can I say no if I am asked?  I suppose if I do say no, it could go against me.   Can anyone offer me any advice?  Obviously, this may come to nothing. 
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  • Sandtree
    Sandtree Posts: 10,628 Forumite
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    I started a new job in May.  I am doing admin for one firm with two offices. At interview, it was explained to me that the admin was done by a staff member at the other office. She was leaving and the decision was made to bring the admin to the bigger office which is where I now am. Being in the town this office is in was a big pull of accepting the job. Close to home and school with a very short commute time.  After I started, it became clear the reason for moving the admin to the office where I am is because the staff member who left didn’t get through the work, arrived late, took long lunches, sat on the internet etc.  The office I am in is managed with senior staff in place the other isn’t and my employer was very much of the opinion she took the !!!!!!. 

    I had an informal chat with the office manager yesterday afternoon, just to check I have been getting all the training I need, is everything making sense etc. I got great feedback. They’ve no concerns with me at all which is fantastic. That said, twice in the conversation it was dropped in that cover is needed at the smaller office and they are looking at how make that happen. Just vague comments but it’s got me a bit concerned that they are going to ask me to spend time at the other office.  

    If I am asked, I want to be prepared with a response but I am not sure where I stand here. Travel between offices was never discussed at interview. It was the opposite. They were very firm about moving the role to the office where I am now. I appreciate plans change but I have no interest in travelling 50 plus miles a day to the other office.

    My contract has the usual clause about being there for the needs of the business. Can I say no if I am asked?  I suppose if I do say no, it could go against me.   Can anyone offer me any advice?  Obviously, this may come to nothing. 
    Given you say you have an appropriately worded mobility clause then you could only refuse if the request is unreasonable... unfortunately the examples given of unreasonable are people being relocated abroad which doesn't help really identify where the line is.

    You've been there for less than 2 years and so its very easy for them to get rid of you and so it will come down to a degree of how much you want the job, a discussion of what proportion of your time they want you spending at the other office and what in your mind would make you happy to spend X days a week there. Then it comes down to negotiation.
  • Alfrescodave
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    In these situations, it's always good to have your alternative suggestion in your head if the management propose a plan that is not acceptable to you.

    Would you be happy to work at the other office 1 day / month , 2 days / month ? 
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,635 Forumite
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    Is that a 50 mile round trip or 50 miles each way?  As the subject was raised by management, albeit in a roundabout way, I would be speaking to them now to get clarification.  If they confirm that a move is planned it will allow time to start looking for another job.
  • Undervalued
    Undervalued Posts: 8,921 Forumite
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    I started a new job in May.  I am doing admin for one firm with two offices. At interview, it was explained to me that the admin was done by a staff member at the other office. She was leaving and the decision was made to bring the admin to the bigger office which is where I now am. Being in the town this office is in was a big pull of accepting the job. Close to home and school with a very short commute time.  After I started, it became clear the reason for moving the admin to the office where I am is because the staff member who left didn’t get through the work, arrived late, took long lunches, sat on the internet etc.  The office I am in is managed with senior staff in place the other isn’t and my employer was very much of the opinion she took the !!!!!!. 

    I had an informal chat with the office manager yesterday afternoon, just to check I have been getting all the training I need, is everything making sense etc. I got great feedback. They’ve no concerns with me at all which is fantastic. That said, twice in the conversation it was dropped in that cover is needed at the smaller office and they are looking at how make that happen. Just vague comments but it’s got me a bit concerned that they are going to ask me to spend time at the other office.  

    If I am asked, I want to be prepared with a response but I am not sure where I stand here. Travel between offices was never discussed at interview. It was the opposite. They were very firm about moving the role to the office where I am now. I appreciate plans change but I have no interest in travelling 50 plus miles a day to the other office.

    My contract has the usual clause about being there for the needs of the business. Can I say no if I am asked?  I suppose if I do say no, it could go against me.   Can anyone offer me any advice?  Obviously, this may come to nothing. 
    Yes but probably at the cost of your job I'm afraid!

    With less than two years service you can be dispensed with just by giving you your contractual notice (or just a week if nothing is laid down). 

    So you need to keep this in mind and negotiate constructively. It is always better to try and propose a solution rather than giving them a problem to solve.
  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    Check the terms and conditions of your contract of employment. Does that say that you would be expected to work across two sites? 

    If you are asked to go to the other site (although you say "the decision was made to bring the admin to the bigger office which is where I now am" and "They were very firm about moving the role to the office where I am now") so I don't see why you would be asked, you could tell your employer what you have said in your OP. Make the point that you only accepted the post because everything was so convenient for you, all the pieces fit. Why are they now dithering about the location of the admin services?

    If your employer feels that there should be cover at the other location, maybe they are considering employing someone there in a very part time role. 

    This needs more formal discussion with your employer. You could even ask for a more formal meeting, citing your concerns about location, and ask what exactly they have in mind, and if it will affect you in any way. Any reasonable employer will be happy to discuss these matters. You could actually be worrying for nothing and if you are prepared to put forward your own thoughts, a mutual compromise will probably be reached.

    But you could also contact acas if you need clarification on your position, even if you haven't worked there for two years as yet.
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • wilfred30
    wilfred30 Posts: 875 Forumite
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    MalMonroe said:
    But you could also contact acas if you need clarification on your position, even if you haven't worked there for two years as yet.
    Not much point in the OP doing that as ACAS can only 'clarify' that with less than 2 years' service, the OP can be dismissed for any or no reason.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,196 Forumite
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    One thing to consider and prepare yourself for is whether you have capacity - or might be assumed or expected to have capacity - to do what's needed in both offices. If you are finding that your time is fully accounted for by what you are doing already, then that's something they need to know - any time you are at the other office, you won't be doing what you do in the main office. 

    If you can get a handle on what is needed at the other office, that's also an opportunity to work up suggestions for how the need there can be met. We used to have another base, albeit only five miles away, and that HAD to be staffed 24/7. Sometimes it was helpful for me to go there to get PCs working properly, to work through IT problems with the team there etc. We were also still using a lot of paper forms, so someone used to bring those to the main office at regular intervals. 

    Nowadays, I'd set up a Teams meeting and get them to pan the camera onto whatever piece of kit was causing problems, and check remotely that all the leads were properly plugged in - oh look, your printer cable isn't plugged in, do you think that would help? - and work from there. Plus we do all our financial stuff electronically now, so no need to cart papers around. And no filing either! At least not in a filing cabinet - it all needs to be accessible on the shared drive!
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,635 Forumite
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    The employer may want a physical presence at the other site for any number of reasons.  For one, it makes staff at the other site feel less isolated, almost second class.  You get a far better sense of what the situation is in a remote office if you are actually there than if you are using TEAMS or any other remote system.
  • Andy_L
    Andy_L Posts: 12,834 Forumite
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    edited 27 July 2022 at 10:17AM
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     That said, twice in the conversation it was dropped in that cover is needed at the smaller office and they are looking at how make that happen. Just vague comments but it’s got me a bit concerned that they are going to ask me to spend time at the other office.  

    If I am asked, I want to be prepared with a response but I am not sure where I stand here. Travel between offices was never discussed at interview. It was the opposite. They were very firm about moving the role to the office where I am now. I appreciate plans change but I have no interest in travelling 50 plus miles a day to the other office.

    My contract has the usual clause about being there for the needs of the business. Can I say no if I am asked?  I suppose if I do say no, it could go against me.   Can anyone offer me any advice?  Obviously, this may come to nothing. 
    They might ask you or they might not.

     What if they way they make it happen is to offer you travelling expenses and/or paid travel time?
  • mcpitman
    mcpitman Posts: 1,267 Forumite
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    Andy_L said:
     That said, twice in the conversation it was dropped in that cover is needed at the smaller office and they are looking at how make that happen. Just vague comments but it’s got me a bit concerned that they are going to ask me to spend time at the other office.  

    If I am asked, I want to be prepared with a response but I am not sure where I stand here. Travel between offices was never discussed at interview. It was the opposite. They were very firm about moving the role to the office where I am now. I appreciate plans change but I have no interest in travelling 50 plus miles a day to the other office.

    My contract has the usual clause about being there for the needs of the business. Can I say no if I am asked?  I suppose if I do say no, it could go against me.   Can anyone offer me any advice?  Obviously, this may come to nothing. 
    They might ask you or they might not.

     What if they way they make it happen is to offer you travelling expenses and/or paid travel time?
    Was about o suggest the same.

    I have worked for a company where they wanted me to travel and I didn't, we compromised - I travelled in work time and they paid the travel expenses.

    That way I could still support my family and commit to school pick up's etc.
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