Council / More home working a possibility for council

Shetland Islands Council headquarters at North Ness in Lerwick. Photo: Shetland News

THE IDEA of having more people working from home in the long-term – and reducing the amount of commuting as a result – is part of Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) thinking as it plans how services might be delivered in the future.

Chief executive Maggie Sandison said the local authority needs to find the “right balance” as working from home is not for everybody.

Council staff have been working from their homes where possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is estimated that the SIC will save around £500,000 in energy costs in the four months from March to June as buildings remained closed.

There is also an estimated £360,000 saving in fuel from inter-island ferries operating to a restricted timetable.

Sandison said there are no figures yet as to the positive carbon impact on the council’s operations after the lockdown was imposed in March.

“One of the things we have been talking about in our restart plans for services is actually about whether we go back to how we delivered services in the past,” Sandison said.


“Traditionally everybody travelled into an office or travelled to their place of work. But having managed to deliver adequately without bringing everybody into offices, and with the route map from the government talking about people still working from wherever they can, the use of our estate will be part of our discussions.”

The council chief said the SIC is planning for the potential of a future wave of the virus, and is preparing social and physical distancing measures for when services do return back to some sense of normality.

“It’s not easy for people to work from home,” she added, “and there’s a real difficulty about some of the things we find easy in an office.

“Working together on projects can be really challenging, sharing information can be really challenging. People can feel really isolated and it can have an impact on their wellbeing.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“So we need to find the right balance for people.”

Chairman of the SIC’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson, meanwhile, said research shows that global daily CO2 emissions are down compared to last year as a result of countries going into lockdown.

However, he said the climate emergency still remains a major issue.

“Although quite rightly all efforts have gone into helping the NHS and combating the virus, the global climate emergency is very much still there,” the councillor warned.

“The SIC’s strategic outline programme for climate change was approved back in January 2020. Action is still required, and we cannot be complacent.

“As a council we will continue to show leadership in the face of the global climate emergency.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.