THE Vale council is considering shedding some of its office space as staff say they prefer working from home.

During the coronavirus lockdown, many office workers have started working from home instead, including at the Vale council.

More than half of council workers said in future they want to have a mix of working from home and working in the office.

In a recent staff survey only 14 per cent said they wanted to go fully back to working in the office.

But poor communication, particularly from bosses, was raised as a problem with the shift to working from home, as well as issues with IT.


Vale Council: Are you sitting comfortably?

Vale of Glamorgan Council leader reveals covid-19 financial pressures

Vale council agrees 4.9 per cent council tax rise

Vale Council managing director, Rob Thomas said the long term switch could mean getting rid of some office space.

In a report to cabinet, on Monday, July 13, Mr Thomas said: “With such a significant number of staff indicating the desire to work more flexibly in the future, policies and processes should be developed to support a flexible approach to working conditions.

“For some areas, changes to more ‘remote’ ways of working were not always positive, with some requiring face-to-face interaction to be most effective.

“But the consensus view was that a blend of face-to-face and virtual ways of working were most likely to be effective in the medium to longer term.

"This could lead to the rationalisation of office accommodation in the future.”

The cabinet meeting was the first meeting in public since March, as the coronavirus lockdown prevented councillors from meeting in person.

The Vale has lagged behind other councils and the Welsh Government in returning to transparent decision-making.

Public meetings will be held virtually, via video conferencing technology, and recorded for residents to watch online.

Emergency powers granted to the managing director meant he approved key decisions during lockdown, rather than elected councillors.

A list of his decisions has been published every fortnight, with sparse details.

Vale council staff also felt there has been a lack of information during lockdown with only 35 per cent saying they had “enough opportunity to engage in two-way communication, in order to obtain information and ask questions”.

Only 54 per cent of those surveyed said council bosses were “sufficiently visible and accessible” during the crisis, and 51 per cent said senior leaders “role model behaviours asked of staff”.

The survey received 1,126 responses, or 44 per cent of council workers.

The results also revealed the impact of covid-19 on mental health.

Less than half of council workers said they had “good or excellent” mental health, with one in 10 saying their mental health was “very poor or poor”.