Majority of Warwickshire council staff say they are more productive working from home

One councillor said there is a lot of evidence of increased productivity

Shire Hall in Warwick, where the county council is based.

Nearly nine out of ten Warwickshire County Council staff say they are more productive either working entirely from home or with a mixture of house/office working.

That was one of the findings of work carried out by officers and presented to this week’s (December 15) resources and fire and rescue overview and scrutiny meeting.

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A pilot study covering five council departments found that the top three reasons why staff returned to the office were related to collaborative working.

A report considered by councillors added: “As a result there is likely to be a requirement for additional collaboration space. Staff have indicated that they do not believe they need to be in the office to undertake their roles, but do wish to be able to attend to collaborate.”

Officer Martin Lewis explained to officers that it was important to get an idea as to what agile working looked like.

He said: “It has not been without its challenges but we have some really great information in terms of how our teams want to work. We are using this time now to really rethink and replan.”

Rob Powell, the county council’s strategic director for resources, said there were a variety of reasons why some staff had chosen to work from the office rather than at home.

He explained: “There are a lot of people who have been coming in throughout the pandemic for mental health reasons or simply because they haven’t got a space that is conducive to working safely or productively.

“We have been open throughout and that is something I want to emphasise because a lot of councils have been shut throughout but this place has been open to some extent over the past two years - albeit Covid secure - and we think that is very important because not everybody can work from home or should.”

When asked by Cllr Martin Weston (Con, Coleshill North and Water Orton) about how well staff worked at home compared to when they were in the office, Mr Powell added: “I think there is an awful lot of evidence of significantly increased productivity as a result of the way we are working.

“We are doing a lot more, working in different ways and, quality and performance-wise, this council is doing really well generally. We have also seen a massive decrease in sickness levels and the staff are telling us that they are more productive, able to contribute more and very grateful that they can do that without long travels to work.”

Figures from the report showed that 52 per cent said they felt more productive working from home with a further 36 per cent when they worked between remote and office locations. Just seven per cent felt they were more productive working solely in the office.