Working during the commute: #WorkingFromTrain
#wft (‘working from trains’) is fast replacing #wfh (‘working from home’).
A recent study commissioned by the University of West England revealed that the average commuter uses most of their travel time to catch up on work emails. In some cases, this results in an extra 2 hours of work per day.
Technological advancements such as wifi on train services have led to this way of life, as well as busy lives necessitating a culture of ‘every second counts’.
The study found that 54% of commuters using wifi are sending work emails and others were using their personal mobile phone connections for work purposes. It has become part of daily life to catch up with emails ahead of a 9am start and finish off work on the way home.
The increased use of mobile phones is a constant subject of debate. Loved and hated in equal measure, it’s often deemed an unwelcome intrusion.
The concept of a ‘fluid’ work environment, which now spills over into commuters’ journeys, raises the question of how much is too much? When is enough, enough? Have we as a society completely lost all concept of work-life balance?
At present, that extra time worked is not necessarily captured and as a result are people are working for free. If #wft is to count as ‘actual working time’ for the purposes of employment legislation such as the Working Time Regulations or the National Minimum Wage, employers may want to consider having a policy or procedure in place to be able to monitor this arrangement.
The law is constantly evolving to ensure that ‘working time’ is an accurate and true reflection of the time that a worker really does work. It’s only a matter of time before a case is brought before the courts to decide on this very issue.
What should employers do?
Employers should be mindful that if commuting is really to be taken into account as ‘working time’ then it is necessary to adequately identify what this time is. Questions to ask are:
- Is it overtime (and if it is overtime this may impact on holiday pay calculations)?
- How is it monitored and recorded?
- Should it be remunerated in addition to basic pay?
- Is there an entitlement to more rest breaks?
- Are National Minimum Wage requirements being met?
- Are the Working Time Regulations being met in relation to the maximum hours a worker can work?
If you require advice on working whilst you commute or indeed any other policies or procedures please contact us.
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.