Council considers question of home working

Many people are now working from home using pods in their garden. Photograph: JMLgardenrooms

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Garden pods could be useful work stations for Argyll and Bute Council staff who are working from home, a South Kintyre councillor has claimed.

Rory Colville, the authority’s policy lead for support services, suggested the council looks at the potential of staff being able to work from home permanently in future – and wondered whether garden pods might help.

He put the idea to the council’s business continuity committee after hearing a report on the radio on the facilities’ popularity.

It was announced during the week of the meeting that social networking site Twitter was allowing its staff to work from home ‘forever’ if they so wished.

Many council staff are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the council committee members themselves were conducting the meeting, last Thursday (May 14), via Skype.

Councillor Colville said: ‘I was listening to the radio this morning and there was one company which is blossoming in this situation, in that they provide pods to put in your garden to work from home.

‘They have seen an increase, and some companies, Twitter being one of them, have already decided to move to a permanent arrangement.

‘As we make decisions in future, I would flag that up. It is not possible for everybody to work from home, as we hear stories of people working off ironing boards et cetera.

‘Should we move to a permanent position, could we give some consideration to this?’

Councillor Kieron Green questioned the practicality of the idea, and also sought clarity on when waste and recycling sites are likely to reopen.

He said: ‘It is a great idea if you have a garden, but there will be a lot of us with no gardens in smaller properties.

‘So will people in these properties return from lockdown earlier than others? What would be the situation if they need to shield? And there are areas with poor broadband as well.

‘On recycling and refuse collections, there is a comment in the paper about them being resumed, and waste recycling centres being resumed, when safe and sensible to do so.

‘I agree with that, but it is vague on whether there is a timescale. I am running out of space in my kitchen to store recycling.’

In response to the query on waste and recycling centres, council leader Aileen Morton said: ‘Based on papers that are going to COSLA, I expect Nicola Sturgeon to make an announcement on the position regarding waste and recycling centres.

‘We will then be able to update our local arrangements.’