Less office base working will help reduce the council's carbon footprint

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Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 1:42pm

By Elgan Hearne - Local Democracy Reporter

Over 1,300 staff could be working from home permanently in move that will have both financial and environmental benefits for Powys County Council.

A restructure of how council staff work will be discussed by the cabinet at their meeting on Tuesday, September 21.

The changes called “New Way of Working”  (NWOW) builds on the experience of council staff as they work through the pandemic.

In 2020/21 the council estimated that it saved £1,029,898 due to reduced staff travelling.

If the changes are implemented the council estimates a saving of £544,000 this financial year which would be replicated each year.

The report by project manager Kay Thomas explains that staff will be classified as having one of three styles of working, “place based”, “on the go” and “flexible.”

This will decide where they will be based.

Ms Thomas said: “The move follows the way staff have  work due to the coronavirus pandemic and with less commuting it’s seen as contributing to carbon net zero targets

“This will build on the success of the existing and new ways of service delivery which developed throughout the pandemic, through giving staff the flexibility to work in an agile way from home and / or other local bases and maximising the use of digital platforms for meetings and communication.

“The future emphasis will be on how work is done, and the outcomes achieved, rather than on where staff work.

“The transition aims to reduce travel, improve productivity, aid recruitment, enable many staff to enjoy an improved work-life balance, and make the council more efficient and cost effective.

“Virtual meetings will become the norm across the organisation wherever possible.

“Business travel will be reduced as far as is reasonably practicable within service delivery needs.”

The report states that surveys show that the move would be good for staff wellbeing and lead to higher productivity.

It would also help the council’s ability to recruit staff

The move could also allow the council to sell off some of its property.

Ms Thomas added: “An exercise undertaken earlier this year established that in excess of 1,300 employees could potentially continue to work from home on a regular basis, this being in line with the flexible worker workstyle.

“This assessment will be reviewed by each service, as part of their plans to roll out NWOW and the workstyle of each employee clearly established.”

Examples of place-based workers include receptionists, library, museum, catering, and cleaning staff

On-the-go workers: these staff are mostly out and about in the community, directly delivering services, examples include rubbish collectors, domiciliary and social care staff.

Flexible workers: who can work from anywhere including home, office or in the community include legal and finance teams, , housing officers, human resources staff.

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