HUNDREDS of office based workers will be asked to work up to 80 per cent of the time from home as Bury Council attempts to introduce new methods of working.

A report the the council’s cabinet on ‘agile working’ which would transform the way white collar authority staff operate is to be consulted on by trade unions.

The report also acknowledges that only the ground floor and 50 per cent of the first floor of Bury Town Hall are fit to be worked in as the roof of the building is in disrepair.

Councillor Tahir Rafiq, cabinet member for corporate affairs, said: “Covid has changed the way in which many of our staff work and how some services are


“Underpinning all of this is a much greater reliance on our technology as, over recent months, new platforms have been implemented to ensure that the

council’s core business could continue.

“There is a real opportunity to now build on this approach through new, agile ways of working which drive the productivity of the workforce, further the ambition for carbon neutrality and will help manage the risk of the poor condition of much of the council’s office estate.”

Prior to the pandemic a total of around 1,000 staff across the council operated from 40 council office buildings.

Councillor Rafiq, said: “The council operates from multiple buildings there is no consistency in the standard of the work environment.

“Over recent years, the estate has not been maintained and large numbers of buildings are considered to be in a state of disrepair.

“The risk to the estate is evidenced by the fact that £1.1m was needed to address some key health and safety risks in the town hall.

“Following these works the site will still only be less than 50 per cent usable due to damage and disrepair to the roof experienced recently,

following which there was water ingress and internal damage.

“It is anticipated that this situation is replicated in many other buildings.

“In the context of a potential future agile working model a further survey has been conducted of staff based in the town hall and 3 Knowsley Place,

to establish precise demands.

“Feedback has currently confirmed a requirement for 103 fixed desk spaces and 443 flexible spaces.”

Under the proposals office-based staff, where the role allows, will be given the option to work 20 to 80 per cent of their working time from home.

The remainder of time would be spent at one or more identified ‘hub’ sites.

Councillor Rafiq said a trial will begin from the time when COVID infection levels allow a return to office, anticipated to be early next year.

During that time office capacity across the two main council office sites will be provided at around 45 per cent of former capacity.