Younger workers will benefit from return to office

Returning to work in offices will help younger staff with their careers, the boss of a pub firm has said.

Clive Watson, chief executive of City Pub Group, said junior workers needed mentors which they could not get access to while working from home.

Many people are set to return to the office this week after work-from-home guidance was ditched in England.

Mr Watson said having staff working in offices would help build the “culture” of businesses.

“Every junior staff needs a mentor, every junior staff needs to go to someone in the office to help them with their roles and they can’t really do that from home,” Mr Watson, whose firm owns 45 pubs, told the BBC’s Today programme.

“You can bring in a flexibility to the office work-life. But I think it’s very important for office workers’ mental wellbeing to be back in the office and be working alongside their colleagues.”

Mr Watson said people returning to offices in town and city centres was “not just to help the hospitality industry”.

Transport for London said it saw 6% rise in tube journeys on Monday compared to the week before, with about 500,000 tube trips.

However, Network Rail said it was too early to tell if commuters were returning to the capital. It saw a slight drop in journeys on Monday, although the number of passengers using non-London stations rose 6%.

It said data gathered later in the week would provide a better indication of changes to commuting behaviour.

According to a Centre for Cities report, Covid-19 has cost businesses in city and large town centres more than a third (35%) of their potential takings and shut down thousands since March 2020.

Some employers have argued working from the office is more productive, with the boss of bank Goldman Sachs previously calling remote working an “aberration”.

But many believe flexible working is here to stay. Last year, a survey found 70% of 1,684 people polled do not believe workers will return to the office full-time when the pandemic subsides.