Many employees are keen to continue working from home following the pandemic, but it is important to consider the effect on their wellbeing, says Paula Allen
One of the biggest items on the agenda for most organisations has been the extent to which employees should return to the office once the pandemic has receded. There are compelling arguments on both sides, but it is important to ensure mental health and wellbeing are part of the discussion.
LifeWorks' data indicates that before the pandemic, 71% of employees felt a good sense of belonging with their work, workplace and colleagues. By August 2021 that had fallen to 63% - a significant decline.
LifeWorks' analysis has also shown that work productivity falls on average by almost 30 days per year if someone doesn't have a sense of belonging.
Many more employees are likely to be working from home as we find the new normal after the pandemic. But employers shouldn't assume that that means the new arrangements are automatically ok, says Paula Allen. "There's a lot of positives in terms of people working from home. But there are unintended consequences as well.
"You don't have that sense of connection. We have an issue in our society with isolation to begin with. It impacts the variety you have in your experiences and the opportunity for different stress outlets with your colleagues."
"Most people are not wanting to work at home for reasons of their health and wellbeing; it's because commuting is a pain in the neck and expensive.
"I'm not saying we should just stop working from home, but we need to make sure that we support people appropriately so that their wellbeing is not negatively impacted."