Breakdown of Scottish Government employees working from home: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. Can you please provide data to confirm the number and percentage of Scottish Government employees who routinely, partly or permanently work from home for the years 2018 and 2022 and 2023 currently?

2) Does the Scottish Government have a policy to encourage staff to return to work based in the office?


1. The Scottish Government (SG) has implemented and is currently operating a hybrid working model which applies to the majority of our employees. Hybrid working blends working in Scottish Government workspaces, from home and in the community with stakeholders. All staff are required to find a hybrid workstyle that meets business need, whilst balancing personal circumstances. Our hybrid working arrangements require a regular mix between working from offices, home and/or other on-site locations. There is no singular or pre-determined ratio
between the number of days in each location. This is a matter for agreement between managers and their employees to suit business requirements and personal preferences and is not recorded centrally.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not hold the data that you have requested on the number and percentage of employees who work routinely, partly or permanently from home for each of the years you have requested. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. However, in broad terms, we can advise that from 2018 to the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 that permanent home working contracts were an exception and generally only applied as part of a reasonable adjustment. Therefore the vast majority of staff worked all or most of their time at an SG location. From March 2020 to February 2022, in compliance with rules relating to Covid-19 all staff, except those who met essential worker criteria, were required to work all of their time from home. From February 2022 we first moved to a hybrid working model as part of our transitional response to the later stages of the pandemic and this was formally confirmed as our longterm operating model in May this year. This means out of the 9,200 civil servants (as of 31st March 2023) employed by SG Main the vast majority are working in roles that would be eligible for hybrid working (e.g. as part of a hybrid working arrangement which involves them working between home and a Scottish Government workplace). The specific balance between home and office working is not recorded and is a local level decision which is dependent on the nature of the role. In addition, there are certain roles that are not suitable for a hybrid working arrangement and therefore require attendance at a Scottish Government workplace on each working day.

2. As a condition of our hybrid working arrangements, staff continue to have a Scottish Government workplace stipulated as their contractual work location and we do not generally issue homeworking contracts (except where it would be an appropriate reasonable adjustment
to comply with equalities legislation). As above the Scottish Government committed to a hybrid working model in May earlier this year with an expectation that this will continue in the long-term. As part of that model, there is a requirement for managers and employees to identify an appropriate hybrid work style that fits business requirements and which includes a regular mix of working from offices, home and/or other on-site locations including working in communities with stakeholders.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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