Current guidance locally encourages working from home where possible. In addition, building occupancy levels are set at 50%. This was in place to align with Scottish Government COVID-19 guidance including physical distancing and reduce possible overcrowding within our buildings. As restrictions ease, we are looking to review our arrangements in line with Scotland's Strategic Framework.

General COVID-19 safety guidance

Employees and managers should be familiar with and apply the general COVID-19 guidance. Information is being updated on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) employee advice pages to reflect national guidance.

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Hybrid working

Work is being done to implement more flexible working through hybrid guidance.

Posts have been identified that can be considered for hybrid working - these are posts that were mainly office based prior to the pandemic. Hybrid working will be offered on a voluntary basis, with employees applying to "opt in" to hybrid working.

Separate information will be issued to employees offering a period of time to apply to opt in to hybrid working. Managers will then consider requests with an aim of assessing these within a short turn around. As part of this process, managers will discuss and agree working arrangements with employees, with the expectation that virtual meetings will continue where possible and appropriate.

Those who do not apply for hybrid working will be expected to return to their normal place of work for all contractual hours. Initially to accommodate any restricted occupancy levels, if you opt in to hybrid working, you may be asked to continue to work from home for a period of time or more regularly than you may prefer to allow time to manage occupancy levels.

Building occupancy

Building occupancy will remain at 50% during March. This will be increased to 75% later in the Spring and following a review and subject to Scottish Government guidance at that time, will increase to 100% in Summer 2022. This does not mean 100% of staff returning to the office, it's the availability of desks for those who need them.

Over this period, this will allow a soft introduction of our hybrid working arrangements and allows time for us to review and agree working arrangements with employees along with an opportunity to ensure that we have appropriate IT arrangements in place to accommodate virtual and hybrid working in our office settings.

We would anticipate that non-hybrid workers will return to office space for all contractual hours by the end April.

All of these dates are however subject to ongoing monitoring and individual service need and availability of suitable IT within office spaces.

Desk bookings

The intention is that the web based desk booking system will be available across all council offices. Employees must use the desk booking system where this is in place. The desk booking system will be managed in line with the above occupancy levels. Where the desk booking system is not available, managers should ensure occupancy is aligned to the above. Currently desks are booked on a daily basis, however this will be reviewed as part of our return to work arrangements.

Employees must not book the same desk every day to do avoid desks being "owned" by individuals. Desks must always be cleaned after use and kept clear with no papers or personal items. Employees should ensure they bring their work laptop with them to work, to ensure access to systems.

ICT considerations

'Modern Workplace' if you haven't heard the term before is the new IT and office design that allows staff to work at home – or return to Council Offices if required – and work in a mobile and flexible way that is consistent with the Councils overall plans of reducing the number of council buildings.

Over the last 12 months, significant progress has been made to get priority offices set up for 'Modern Workplace' with staff being able to use their laptops in Council Offices connecting to a docking station or the councils wired network, complete with double displays, webcam for MS teams and integrated Jabber soft phone.

Modern Workplace replaces the existing fixed Windows 7 PCs on desks, I-Gel thin client units or repurposed Citrix PCs. These devices should not be used if staff return to the office.

It's important before managers allow staff back into the office that an ICT assessment is carried out, and that the office has been re-fitted for Modern Workplace to allow laptop use and that Windows 7 PCs and I-Gel devices are removed.

Meetings will be arranged between representatives of the Anytime Anywhere working group, Service Managers and ICT to agree further priorities for re-fitting offices for 'Modern Workplace' as the availability of IT equipment allows, and also to identify opportunities to use space that is 'Modern Workplace' ready but is perhaps not being used to full capacity.

Further communication will be made to Service Teams in due course. If you have any questions on this, or with regards to the existing office refit project, please contact:

Donnie Maclennan
ICT Service Collaboration Team Leader

Building checks

All building checks must be completed prior to any return of employees. Managers must check that these building checks have been completed before discussing return to work arrangements with teams.

QR codes

With the easing of restrictions there is less need for having QR codes confirming attendance. We are proposing that this requirement can therefore cease from 31 March 2022. A reminder will be issued nearer the time to remove posters/instructions. Normal manual records may require to be re-instated.

Risk assessments/Fire risk assessments

Managers must ensure that up to date Risk Assessments are in place, ensuring any COVID-19 related matters are considered. Managers must ensure these are shared with employees prior to any return.

Risk assessments for employees considered to be at highest risk from Coronavirus should be carried out prior to any return. Specific advice can also be found for pregnant employees.

Fire risk assessments must also be up to date and take account of hybrid working if that is in place within the location. Employees must be briefed on any new arrangements prior to any return. Further information is on our Reopening of buildings page.

Training courses

From April 2022, some face-to-face training courses can recommence.

Assessment of the nature of the course and benefit of face-to-face delivery should be fully considered prior to setting up face-to-face training sessions. We anticipate that there will be a reduced need for face-to-face delivery, as some courses continue to be suitable for virtual delivery, reducing travel time and helping towards our climate change targets.

Where face-to-face training is the most appropriate delivery method, the numbers attending training courses will adhere to the same occupancy rates as buildings.