Welsh Government Wants 30 Percent Of Workers To Remain At Home
The Welsh Government has confirmed it intends for nearly a third of people to remain working from home in the long term, at odds with the UK Government's instruction for people to return to their places of work.
Welsh ministers said that the ambition is for around 30 percent of the Welsh workforce to remain out of the office or near to their homes for the foreseeable future.
They claim that this represents an opportunity to review practises and adopt a strategy that 'supports remote working'.
They also claim that it would reduce pollution, congestion on roads and public transport, as well as improving the work/life balance of the Welsh workforce.
Lee Waters, the Deputy Minister for Transport and Economy, told BBC News: "The UK government instruction for everyone to go back to the office is not one we are repeating in Wales,
"We believe many people will want to continue to work remotely in the longer term and this could be a step-change in the way we work in Wales."
According to the Welsh Government, workers are to be offered 'more flexibility to work remotely' in the hope that this will 'drive regeneration and economic activity in communities'.
The government also want to recognise 'the importance of learning lessons on issues such as mental health support, childcare arrangements and more innovative housing design'.
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As well as those working from home, officials are looking into developing a number of 'community based working hubs' that will be similar to offices, but shared by different private and public bodies and situated within walking or cycling distance of homes.
Welsh officials explained: "The intention is to develop a hybrid workplace model, where staff can work in the office, at home, or in a hub location."
While the news has been partially welcomed by trade unions, there remain some who are concerned about the balance between personal and working lives.
Some have claimed that their mental health has been affected by working from home, as well as their availability of breaks and social time cut.
The Welsh Secretary of the Trade Union Convention, Shavanah Taj, said that there were 'real benefits but some other concerns'.
She added: "We do need to get the balance right."
In opposition, employers' organisation CBI warned about city centres becoming 'ghost towns' and referenced the businesses in cities that rely on passing trade that could be at risk if less workers are travelling in for work.
The Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn, said: "Home working will change how we use our town centres and high streets.
"As part of our work to support and revitalise our high streets and town centres we will be asking organisations, businesses and individuals to contribute to a major piece of work aimed at ensuring more people are living, working, shopping and learning there."
Featured Image Credit: PA