Whilst this week on The Apprentice the candidates were a little closer to home at the Bath & West show, their commute to the task was still a fair way from London. It got us thinking whether in the real world an employer can just demand that a staff member move wherever they please to get the job done?

Moving offices – can you just expect staff to follow you?

Last week saw the candidates up and travel to the US. With an international business comes international requirements, and as such a member of Lord Sugar’s team you would potentially be expected to work in countries across the globe. But for smaller businesses who may not be expected to operate on different shores, or even just different locations within one country, is it reasonable for employers to make their staff move when the office ups sticks completely?

The key, should you be considering moving your staff to a new office, is to be reasonable. As with any process, you should discuss it with your employees first and make sure you take them into account before any final decision is made.

There’s no absolute as to what distance should be considered reasonable here, so whether you’re moving 5 miles up the road or out of your area completely, it’s best to chat it over with your workforce. However, as a rule, if it will mean that you are moving from somewhere quite well connected to somewhere without any transport links – that’s not especially reasonable to your staff.

What to do when staff don’t agree with a move

There’s two avenues here. The first is whether they have a reasonable case to show that their existing job has changed so significantly that it would be detrimental for them to continue – i.e. they feel forced out of employment. This could result in them claiming redundancy from your business. If they just think they’ll miss the nice view from their desk, that’s not really good reason.

If your employees can still commute, but it makes it a longer one, you just need to take into account the health and safety considerations with your new location. However, in the majority of cases a commute isn’t classed as working time, unless they’re home based or travelling to a work appointment.

Just take it that the general is; you have a duty of care to commuting employees, but ultimately it is up to them where they live!

Next week the candidates on The Apprentice will be remaining in London it seems, but we’re sure they’ll run into some interesting problems along the way anyway. Hopefully with less bickering this time…

If you want support on how to manage your employees, or even redundancy as a result of issues such as this, then why not sign up for a Free Trial of citrusHR today?

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