Your town centres need you! writes Andy Mitchell

The continuing notion of ‘working from home’ has continued apace, offices deserted, businesses wedded to their new world of Zoom calls, and workforces scattered across the country, linked only by their computers.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 3:45 pm
Working from home

This week I argue that the time has come to get back to work. Your town centres need you!

I’ve heard all the latest buzzwords doing the rounds about ‘hybrid working’. This is the idea that some might never return to the office full time, choosing to split their time between home and work.

Now this isn’t a bad idea in itself. After all, flexitime has been a feature of many offices for decades, and helps mums and dads fit in busy home schedules around their commitments to going to work.

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But “going to work” is the key here, in my opinion.

Last year, when the country was thrown into lockdown, the Prime Minister told us we all had to work from home where possible. Off we went, and the world of online meetings became the norm.

But being at work isn’t just about meetings on Zoom Yes of course we can get our instructions and keep the wheels turning, but work life is more than that. Those of us who have come up through the ranks know that learning from others around us in an informal office setting is key to development. It’s about overhearing how colleagues handle calls, and learning from it. It’s about day to day encouragement and teaching that is the hallmark of personal advancement. It’s about integration, being in the office environment, and benefiting greatly from being around fellow professionals. Ideas bounce around, enthusiasm is created, and things get done as a team. It’s also about putting on a shirt and tie every morning and going to work. That shows you’re not at home. In return, home time means so much more.

We will gradually get back to the office. In Blackpool new office blocks are going up. They need to be filled with workers who will also spend money in the town centre economy at lunchtimes.

‘WFH’ as it appears on staff rostas will eventually disappear, and the novelty, like everything else, will wear off.

However, I do believe we need to do our bit now, and get back to work where we can.