MOST of North Ayrshire Council's 6,500 employees have now returned to office working since the end of the pandemic.

Christina Larsen, the local authority's cabinet member for finance, told a meeting of councillors last week that 4,319 of the local authority's staff now spend at least 90 percent of their time in an office, with only four of the council's employees working permanently from home.

She revealed that the council had agreed four categories of working with trade unions in September 2021 – 'in building', mobile, agile and at home.

The 4,319 staff are categorised as 'in building', while 1,651 were classed as 'mobile' – meaning they spend more than 90 per cent of their time working across different places in the North Ayrshire area.

A further 1,912 were in the 'agile' category, that allows them to work from home, office or other locations, with the proviso that they must spend a minimum of two days in the office.

Only four employees spent more than 90 per cent of their time working from home.

Some employees are in more than one of the four categories.

At the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, North Ayrshire Council employees, in common with the rest of the country, were required to work from home for the first time due to lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures.

At the same council meeting that the 'working from home' figures were revealed, Councillor Larsen renewed a vow made last month not to force staff out of their jobs as part of any future cost-cutting measures.

It is anticipated that the equivalent of around 27 full-time council posts could go in the next few months to help plug a £10 million funding gap.

In an answer to a question from Labour councillor Robert Foster, Councillor Larsen was unable to say if there would be more or less staff on the payroll by the end of the current financial year.

However she added: "There are comings and goings with council staff all the time.

"The most important thing to remember is that we do continue to have have a 'no compulsory redundancies' policy."