Why go back?

Mental health and wellbeing put on the backburner for return to the office

Leading wellbeing and performance company, PUSH, has released a report which suggests the nation is returning to work for the wrong reasons and in turn, to the detriment of their mental health.

The report, which pulls data from a recently conducted Yougov survey commissioned by PUSH, suggests that 36 per cent of the working population think they will work nearly 100 per cent of the time from the office once the pandemic is over. Yet, 35 per cent of people – an almost identical number – felt they achieved more when working from home.

PUSH founder, Cate Murden, suggests this is a new form of presenteeism – a belief that even with the proof we are willing and able to work from home, employers still feel the physical presence of an employee in the workplace equates to better and more valuable deliverables.

Murden thinks employees are returning to work for the wrong reasons – perhaps they think it will have a negative impact on their careers if they don’t, or because they’re concerned with how a desire for flexibility is perceived by employers. According to the 3,037 surveyed, 32 per cent believed those who return to the office when asked are more likely to get promoted and  that rises to 42 per cent in the under 35s.

Murden advises companies to instead use lockdown as a baseline for learning how we can protect the fallout from a sudden return to work: “The numbers that came back from this survey were shocking, but not surprising. If nothing else, it shows that we are still a long way from placing people at the heart of the organisation and not just bottom lines.”

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