COVID-19 working from home: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. Which percentage of the department’s employees are currently working from home?
2. Will the department’s employees be expected to return to the office?

If yes;

1. When will employees be expected to return to the office?
2. Will employees be returning to the office full-time or part-time?
3. Does the department plan to offer hybrid working permanently?


We are aware you have sent the same questions to Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).As SASA is not a separate authority but a division of a Scottish Government Directorate, the answers for SASA will be the same as for this request and so this reply covers both requests.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. We do not hold data on what percentage of staff were working from home on 24 August 2021 as staff have not been required to record their location of work.

As at 24 August 2021, most Scottish Government buildings were closed and therefore the vast majority of Scottish Government employees were and continue to be working at home.

However we have data for 24 August 2021 for those buildings where there are swipe card systems in place at entry points, namely Atlantic Quay 5, St Andrews House, Saughton House and Victoria Quay. This data includes employees, contractors and Sodexo catering staff and totals 231 attendees. This compares to 5242 attendees for the same buildings as at 10 March 2020 to give an approximate pre-Covid comparison.

In line with Scottish Government advice (Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces), we continue to advise home working for our employees where possible, recognising that some employees in line with wellbeing discussions and business need can gradually return to offices.

A limited return to offices was possible from Monday 30 August 2021, but as set out earlier, all employees were not expected to return to the office and this was based on prioritised need. Data for those buildings where there are swipe card systems in place at entry points (listed above) for 30 August 2021 show there were 232 attendees (including employees, contractors and Sodexo catering staff) that day.

Regarding plans to offer hybrid working, for most roles, we envisage it will be possible for hybrid working to be offered. There are some roles, or duties within roles, where there is an absolute requirement that they are performed in a specific workplace or location at specific times, but for all other staff, it is expected that there will be flexibility on where, when and how work is delivered, and we will trial hybrid working over the coming year.

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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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