Although vaccinations have been ramping up across the country, almost half (46 per cent) of Canadians who are working from home are anxious about contracting the virus if and when they return to the office, according to a survey conducted by Workplace Strategies for Mental Health on behalf of the Canada Life Assurance Co.

The survey, which polled more than 1,000 working adults, found respondents were more concerned about potentially contracting the virus than they were with other elements of the return-to-work transition. Only a handful (10 per cent) of respondents indicated they’re concerned about striking a new work-life balance, with just a few (nine per cent) saying they’re anxious about returning to a commute. And less than one per cent said their primary concern was the impact their return to the workplace would have on their children.

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“Many Canadians are no doubt looking forward to getting back to a ‘new normal’ as vaccines roll out and the pandemic subsides,” said Mary Ann Baynton, director of collaboration and strategy for Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, in a press release. “But for those working from home, this transition presents new and unique concerns, because they’ve been more isolated and have been able to limit their exposure to the virus for a long time. Employers need to understand what their teams are concerned about so they can effectively support them during this significant adjustment.”

In addition, the survey found the fear of catching the virus had a similar negative impact on the mental health of both younger (42 per cent) and older (35 per cent) respondents. However, those aged between 18 and 34 were more likely (33 per cent) to report anxiety compared to those aged 55 and older (22 per cent). Younger Canadians surveyed were also more likely (23 per cent) to report depression, compared to just a few (11 per cent) of those aged 55 and up.

Read: Employee well-being critical to return to work after pandemic