After more than a year of telecommuting sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are beginning to reopen their offices, and workers have mixed feelings. Some are delighted at the idea of collaborating with colleagues in person again and trading their makeshift office at the kitchen table for a dedicated workspace.
But those who are eager to return to office appear to be in the minority. About two-thirds of workers say they are concerned about the transition, according to a survey conducted by Envoy in mid-February of 1,000 full- and part-time workers in different countries around the world. In Spain, another recent survey reveals that the hybrid model is the majority, rather than a general return to the offices.
All this has coincided in many organizations with the well-known return of September after the summer holidays, a combination that makes it difficult for many.
Most workers feel some anxiety about going back to the offices
A study that took place in China , the country where the pandemic originated, indicated that almost 13% of participants between 14 and 35 years old showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), one year after the outbreak of COVID .
Another study conducted in Italy also suggested that fear of infection, physical distancing, and financial issues alone could lead to trauma.
Already last year, in Spain, the study ‘Impact of Covid-19 on the psychological health of workers in Spain’, carried out by Affor, revealed that 42% of the population presents symptoms of anxiety , and 27.3% feel that your health has worsened.
Mixed feelings about going back to the office
Working from home offered people a way to continue to earn a living without risking exposure to the coronavirus. “Many workers fear that they will be less safe if they are forced to travel by public transport and spend 9 to 5 hours in closed spaces with their colleagues again,” says Dr. Dawn Kamilah Brown, a psychiatrist for children, adolescents, adults and athletes at the specialized medium on mental health Verywellmind.
In addition to health and safety concerns, many employees are also concerned about losing the benefits of telecommuting. Especially those who have liked the advantages of teleworking.
However, the feelings about going back to the office are not all bad . Many workers are eager to reconnect with their colleagues and have a sense of normalcy in the workplace, says Dr. Renee A. Exelbert, a licensed psychologist.
“Some are very eager to get back to normal, especially if they have been caring for young children at home during work hours, and they crave the stimulation and routine of adults,” he says. “In general, I’ve seen most individuals express their desire for some kind of hybrid work model going forward, like three days at the office, two days at home.”
The truth is that a good part of these conditions have occurred with the usual return from vacation, to which is added the well-known and commented feeling of post-vacation stress . Although experts also believe that combining the return to work with that of the offices can be an incentive so that, with the novelty, this return is more comfortable.