May 13, 2022 6.30 pm

Council considers other uses for offices as more staff work from home

Fewer people in the office

Parts of North Kesteven District Council’s headquarters could be given over to third parties as the number of staff working from home increases.

Although not taking place at this stage, the council is carrying out a feasibility study on how it could maximise its estate – as fewer people are expected to work from the office – and free up space in the future.

The authority’s Audit Committee on Monday will examine the council’s new ‘Agile by Design’ policy document which is out to consultation and aims to formalise hybrid working both at home and in the office.

A report before the council said: “[Previous] reports referenced potential savings (these will be monitored from the commencement of agile working) and income opportunities from alternative use of parts of the building.

“Options for maximising income potential from the building are being considered and the cost of developing and delivering these options is in the early stages of investigation. ”

It confirmed that consultation had begun and that money had already been set aside in the budget for additional ICT equipment along with new options for ‘working from home payments other .

Asked if the council planned to sell off or rent out parts of the building, a spokesman told Local Democracy Reporters: “No, not at this stage.

“The council is championing the efficiencies and benefits of working from home and a more flexible and agile approach to work location and meetings, in part for enhanced colleague well-being and best use of time and money both individually and corporately, but also importantly with regard to reduced travel and consequent climate impacts.

“Within this context, with fewer people expected to work from the office throughout the working week, this frees up space and while the longer-term position on that is established, a feasibility study of the building has been commissioned to ensure the full potential of the building can be maximised.

“This may, in time result in any spare accommodation being made available for use by public-sector partners, charitable and third-sector organisations or possibly commercial tenants.”

They said that while there had always been opportunities to work from home, the coronavirus pandemic had “brought about a move towards more hybrid approaches to work that meet the needs of the organisation and customers and provide a better work/life balance for colleagues”.

They said the authority had already worked as a public service hub for around eight years, housing organisations such as the Department for Work & Pensions, Job Centre Plus and Lincolnshire County Council