TAMWORTH businesses are being urged to consider returning to the office, as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease.
A number of local businesses have opted to have their employees work from home due to social-distancing guidelines.
However, Tamworth MP and Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson believes the time is right to start bringing employees back into the office.
"I think business owners and office employees should really think about coming back to the workplace where it's appropriate," Mr Anderson said.
"If an employer can offer a safe and hygienic environment for their staff, then I think they should certainly come back to work in the office."
Mr Anderson's push comes after the state government urged businesses in Sydney to consider opening up office spaces as a way to help kick-start the economy.
"People working in offices in regional centres make a major difference to the economy," Mr Anderson said.
"If people are around the central business district, they are more inclined to frequent nearby businesses, like cafes and restaurants, which filters down through the local economy.
"As well as the economic benefits, there is a lot of social benefits as well, so there are a lot of positive reasons for businesses to consider coming back to the workplace where appropriate."
Business NSW regional manager Joe Townsend echoed Mr Anderson's sentiments, saying employees returning to the office would benefit the economy.
"I know when I was working in the office I would buy lunch, take-away coffees and alike from nearby shops," Mr Townsend said.
"That flow-on effect is certainly advantageous, so if people are looking to come back to the office it would be good to see them start frequenting the CBD again."
Mr Townsend said while coming back to the office offered several benefits, employers should continue to allow staff to work from home.
"Our position has always been that we recommend businesses adhere to the government's recommendations," he said.
"We have been encouraging employers to keep their staff away, especially in metropolitan areas where travel is more of a concern.
"In regional NSW, I think it is certainly well worth it to return to the workplace, while still allowing some flexibility for staff to continue working from home.
"Allowing staff to choose to continue working from home allows everyone to feel comfortable and ensures everyone comes back to the office at their own pace."
Mr Anderson said businesses would need a COVID-safe work plan before allowing staff back into the office.
"Having the plan is so important because it helps people understand what is required to be safe and what the workplace should look like," he said.
"For tips and criteria visit the nsw.gov.au website for all of the information."