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Survey Finds Workers Divided on Effect of Return to Office on Mental Health

  • McKinsey poll finds one-third of respondents say returning to the office has had a negative effect on their mental health, while one-third say it’s had a positive effect
  • Workers in favor of the change are typically more likely to believe their mental health has improved because they feel more engaged at work
  • Among all respondents, the top concerns with returning to the office were the potential for health risks and a loss of autonomy

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Workers are divided on whether a return to the office would have a positive or negative effect on their mental health, according to a recent survey by McKinsey.

In the poll of 1,602 workers, about one in three said they believe returning to the office had a negative effect on their mental health. Alternatively, another one in three respondents said the change had a positive effect on their mental health, typically because they felt more engaged at work. Those who said they’ve suffered adverse affect were about five times as likely as those who didn’t to accept reduced responsibility.

  • Almost half of those working remotely said the expect to experience some negative effects, such as anxiety or depression, when they return to the office
  • The biggest concerns among both those returning to work and those planning to return were the loss of autonomy gained during remote work and potential risks to their personal health
  • Workers reported that they’d be more comfortable with the transition back to the office if their employer offered hybrid or flexible work schedules or provided additional time off
  • The survey was taken shortly before the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant caused several companies to delay or modify their return to office plans

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