Differences of Mobile Working & Working From Home

Eine Mitarbeiterin beim mobilen Arbeiten

The mobile working model: how it differs from working from home

If you're thinking of ditching the home office for something more flexible, then mobile working might be just the ticket. But what exactly sets it apart from traditional working from home and what legal hoops do you need to jump through to get it up and running? Don't sweat it — this article has got you covered on all things mobile working.

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What is mobile working?

Mobile working is all about flexibility — you're not tied down to a single location. This means you could be firing off emails from a café, hammering out a report in a co-working space or even brainstorming in the park.

Mobile working vs working from home: what's the difference?

With working from home, you're set up to work from—you guessed it—home. Employers usually provide all the equipment you need, like a laptop, monitor, mouse and keyboard. This is often outlined in your employment contract, specifying how many hours you're expected to work from home and who covers the cost of the equipment.

Mobile working on the other hand, gives you more freedom. You're not fixed to your home; you can work from virtually anywhere. The legalities are still a bit fuzzy, but employers should at least supply you with the basics so you can get your job done effectively.

Both working from home and mobile working generally mean you won't have a permanent desk at the office.

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Do you have the right to mobile work?

Legally speaking, no. But many companies offer it as a perk to attract talent and offer their staff more flexibility. It's especially handy if they're recruiting from across the UK or Europe, broadening the talent pool.

Pros and cons

Whether mobile working makes sense for you depends on various factors, like your work culture and team dynamics. Here's a quick list to help you decide.

Advantages of mobile working

  • Better work-life balance

  • Boosts company image

  • Greater flexibility

  • Enhanced motivation and responsibility

  • Improved job satisfaction

Disadvantages of mobile working

  • Risk of overwork

  • Blurring of work-life boundaries

  • Reduced team cohesion

  • Communication challenges

What you need to consider legally

Before jumping into mobile working, there are some legalities to consider. For instance, you'll need to make sure that health and safety regulations are followed, even when the work location is ever-changing.

Insurance & working hours

The law isn’t completely clear yet on the insurance aspect, but guidelines related to home working can serve as a basis. And remember, the Working Time Regulations still apply —you can’t be clocking in endless hours just because you're not in an office.

Equipment and expenses

While there’s no strict rule that employers must foot the bill for all your equipment, it's in their interest to make sure you've got what you need to do your job.

Data protection

Data protection rules still apply, even when you're not in the office. This could include an agreement allowing your employer to inspect your remote working setup to ensure compliance.

Working agreements

Larger firms might draft a specific agreement outlining the terms of mobile working, covering everything from the tech you’ll be using to how often you should check in with your manager.

Can mobile working be tax-deductible?

While mobile working per se isn't tax-deductible, you might be able to claim tax relief on additional costs incurred specifically because of your work requirements, such as the purchase of necessary equipment that your employer has not reimbursed. However, you generally can't claim tax relief on bills or expenses that would remain the same whether or not you're working from home, like mortgage interest, rent, or broadband access. Here's what gov.co.uk have to say about how it works.

Implementing mobile working in four steps

  1. Sort out the legal stuff, including data protection and working hours.

  2. Clarify what equipment will be provided and what costs are covered.

  3. Set expectations for employee availability.

  4. Plan regular check-ins with employees to gauge their well-being and performance.

Considering a hybrid working model? Check out this article to see if it could be the right move for your business.


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