Information

Work from home patterns: FOI release

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


Information requested

The number of employees in your organisation and, of these, the number able to perform their work remotely (i.e., not those who are front-line workers) and the number who have started returning to in person work.
 

Number of Employees Of which are able to work from home? Of which have returned to the office on a regular basis?
120 120 3 facilities staff have remained on site throughout the pandemic to deliver essential services.

8 additional staff have returned on a regular basis since September 2021 only

The following questions refer to the members of the workforce who are able to work remotely.

1. Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, what has your organisational policy to employees working from home vs coming into work in person?

2. Please explain this in terms of change to previous policy and how this has changed over the course of the pandemic. For example: “Prior to the pandemic, most staff were expected to work in person (except for managers who were able to work from home 2 days a week). When the pandemic started, all staff were sent to work from home, until August when some staff began to return to the office”.

3. Did your organisation have enough of the basic equipment needed for transitioning to remote working during the pandemic? If not – how long did it take to provide everyone with the basic equipment (laptops) they required and implement remote-working?

4. Did you provide further equipment at any point e.g. laptop stands, chairs, desks etc? If so what did you provide and was this based on a specified value (if so, how much was spent per remote worker)?

5. Has your organisation created a policy for reversing the option for working from home and/or creating new hybrid working patterns, or returning fully to ‘pre-pandemic’ practices?

6. If yes, please provide details of your policy including how many days a week you will be aiming to have employees working in person and by what specific date or date range you are aiming to achieve this.

7. Has this changed or been delayed considering the government briefing on 29th November regarding the new Omicron Covid variant and updated advice?

8. Did you consult your employees about their attitudes to returning to in person work? If so, please provide details of their responses (e.g. did you create a survey; if so, how many people responded and what % were in favour or against returning to the office?)

9. Have you implemented any changes to pay for those working from home and if so, please describe the average change in pay rates and who it applies to.

10. Were these changes implemented immediately or are you, for example, keeping current staff on the same pay but starting new remote employees on a lower rate?

11. On what rational have you made changes to pay?

Response

1. Accountant in Bankruptcy’s policy since 24 March 2020, has been for all staff to work from home. Those identifying in vulnerable groups have worked from home since 20 March 2020. This applied to all 120 AiB staff with the exception of 3 facilities staff who have remained on site for the full pandemic to deliver essential (mailroom) services.

2. Prior to the pandemic all staff worked from the office. All senior managers, branch heads, the communications team and some others had laptops prior to lockdown and were able to work remotely if the business required. From 24 March, all staff moved to working from home except for the three staff mentioned above. Working from home remained the default until limited hybrid working was introduced in September 2021 when those staff with a wellbeing need were allowed back into the office under new safety guidelines.

3. Yes, Accountant in Bankruptcy had enough basic home working equipment on site for smooth transitioning to remote working during the Pandemic. Those that did not have Scottish Government laptops were able to access key web based systems from personal devices for the immediate response and until relevant IT was available. The business continuity response ensured that from day one of the lockdown in March 2020 that all key delivery areas were prioritised with the available laptops, some being reallocated for business priority and where services could not be delivered without access to Scottish Government systems. The business continuity response equipped all staff with the full necessary IT kit including laptop, monitor, keyboard, mouse and docking station by mid-July 2020.

4. All staff were able to request additional equipment from day 1 of the working from home phase. The only additional expenditure arising from these additional requests was 8 folding desks (costing £75 + VAT) purchased through a Scottish Government procurement framework. All other equipment was taken from site.

5. Yes, Accountant in Bankruptcy will put a hybrid model in place and has prepared the office based on the guidelines in place prior to 29 November 2021. No date has yet been set for moving to this new working pattern.

6. The Accountant in Bankruptcy policy is a hybrid model where staff can choose to spend up to approximately 40% of their working week working from home (depending on work pattern). The approach will be reviewed after three months, with a hope to increase flexibility. No date has yet been set for moving to this new work pattern.

7. Yes – inevitably the state of the pandemic requires a further period before moving to the planned new working pattern.

8. Yes – we have consulted staff throughout. To date, there remain a significant number of staff with concerns about the safety of returning to office working, though in the longer term there is a keenness to return to working alongside other team members. To give a sample to responses, an analysis of a wellbeing survey conducted in March 2021 showed:

  • There was an 87% response rate
  • 90% of respondents felt their role hadn’t altered vastly since the start of home working
  • 95% of respondents felt they were able to work as effectively from home as before the outbreak
  • 98% of respondents felt supported by their line manager
  • 99% felt supported by others within their team
  • 100% of respondents expressed confidence in the senior management team and their handling of the pandemic within the organisation.

9/10/11. There have been no changes in pay so the following two questions are not applicable.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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