More than half (57 per cent) of U.S. employees expect a return to the office will have a positive impact on their well-being, while 12 per cent expect a negative impact and 31 per cent feel neutral or aren’t planning to return to the office, according to a new survey by software company Workhuman.
The reasons employees expected a positive impact include more connection (66 per cent), better focus (50 per cent), better work-life balance (48 per cent), ability to collaborate (31 per cent) and less loneliness (25 per cent).
On the other hand, employees who were apprehensive about going back to the office cited the following reasons: having to focus more on their appearance (41 per cent); less time for newly established wellness routines, such as exercise, meditation and healthy cooking, etc. (39 per cent); and working longer hours when in the office (29 per cent).
Almost half (48 per cent) of survey respondents said their sense of belonging in the workplace has increased over the last two years, thanks in part to closer bonds with co-workers (41 per cent) and getting recognized more often for doing good work (28 per cent).
In addition, when asked what role belongingness plays for them in the workplace, workers said they do better work (48 per cent), they’re happier (45 per cent), it motivates them to work harder (40 per cent), they’re more committed to their employer (39 per cent), it motivates them to stay with their employer (39 per cent), they’re more supportive of others (33 per cent) and it gives them purpose (30 per cent).
The survey also found 65 per cent of respondents reported their approach to mental wellness has changed over the last two years. And employees are beginning to expect more from their employers in terms of mental wellness, saying they expect their employer to view them as a human being (38 per cent), they expect more support from their employer (23 per cent) and they expect more human connection in the workplace (13 per cent).
Despite 51 per cent of employees reporting they somewhat or strongly agree their workplace has a positive impact on their mental health, another 43 per cent somewhat or strongly agreed they’re concerned about the toll their workplace is having on their mental health.
Indeed, 40 per cent of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed they’re on the verge of burnout. In terms of what employers can do to support employees, respondents suggested they provide mental-health days (53 per cent), more workplace flexibility (47 per cent), better mental-health benefits (40 per cent), hire more people (34 per cent), offer a wellness stipend (31 per cent) and create a more connected culture (23 per cent).