After a year of social distancing, mask-wearing, and–for millions–working from home, many employers are eager to bring their staff back to the office. But for many, the prospect of readjusting to in-person work is a daunting one.
A recent survey found that out of 4,553 office workers in five different countries, every single person reported feeling anxious about the idea of returning to in-person work.
Employers face a conflict of interest. On the one hand, they want to look after their employees’ health and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. While on the other, they’re motivated by financial incentives to justify expensive office rents and have their employees physically on hand for meetings and discussions or to simply monitor their working time.
But putting pressure on employees to return to the office might be creating more anxiety. For those surveyed, the top causes of return-to-work stress included being exposed to COVID-19, the loss of work flexibility, the added commute, having to wear a mask while in the office, and a need for childcare.