County council chiefs are calling on people in Lichfield and Burntwood to help support local economies by returning to work safely in offices.

Cllr Philip White, who is also the cabinet member for economy and skills, said it was important that people returned to their workplace for some of the week.

He added that such a move would help support shops, eateries and other businesses which have been hit by the pandemic.

“We understand people may be anxious if they have been away for some time, but evidence suggests that offices present a very low safety risk and have real benefits in terms of teamworking.

“Seeing work colleagues face-to-face again can be beneficial to people’s mental health.

“Coming back into town will also make a real difference to service businesses which have been hit hard by the pandemic in recent months and need the custom of office workers.”

Cllr Philip White, Staffordshire County Council


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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  1. Just a shot in the dark, but perhaps one of the reasons a lot of people are continuing to work from home is that they value their safety and lives more than the town centre sandwich and coffee shops. Silly of them isn’t it?

  2. Pseudo science being used yet again to make a blatant economic case. What evidence does he refer to as regards infection rates in offices? What evidence of the mental health benefits? I’d also be interested in evidence of the economic benefits. I would counter that I have spent more money with businesses based near my home in recent months while working from there than I have spent in the last few years with businesses based near my office. Commission proper independent research into this and that can be the basis of a serious discussion. Telling us to do something based purely on the “What I reckon is…” principle of scientific research is unacceptable.

  3. It’s up to companies to complete Health & Safety assessments and work with staff to ensure premises are safe. An office which used to have 50 staff probably now can only accommodate 20 or so. If there are lifts you would need a new protocol, also for toilets, rest areas etc. These things won’t all be done overnight.
    People who wfh have the benefit of extra time with their children, more relaxation time, so that’s a positive for mental health.
    For some who do want to go back into an office then they should be prioritised by companies and play a part in developing new ways of working there.
    But supporting sandwich shops and coffee bars is one of the least convincing arguments for going back.

  4. Most Lichfield office workers work in, er, Birmingham. Having lived here for a decade, the people I see in the city centre during the day are mostly retired folk. If anything, I would expect that staff working from home would have more time to spend locally now instead of spending 15 hours a week commuting as I used to do.
    Is Cllr White looking at a different city?

    Me and my husband both caught Covid-19 in mid-March, almost certainly either in our offices or on the Cross City Line. It was highly unpleasant and debilitating and recovery has been slow. Our mental and physical health is much better served by working from home, and thankfully we have responsible employers who are currently reconfiguring our offices for (probably) about 1/3 of the previous staff numbers to return in the New Year.

    Stay alert – Tory lies cost lives!

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