Fears About Returning to the Office

By Brett Derricott

We recently surveyed thousands of U.S. workers to find out how they are feeling about their jobs due to the pandemic. The results have been fascinating and informative. Last month we posted about the fact that many employees are considering job changes. Today we’re sharing an insight regarding how employees feel about being back in an office/workspace.

As many U.S. offices have opened back up to having in-office workers (and some have even required it), not all employees are on board. Our survey shows that more than half of workers feel anxious about returning to the office.

more than half of workers feel anxious about returning to the office

As business and HR leaders, it pays to be informed about what employees are feeling. Undercurrents of emotions can lead employees to change behaviors in ways that maybe unexpected or uncharacteristic. Here are some tips for how to navigate this particular moment in time, given what our survey results are suggesting:

  1. Foster open communication with employees by asking specific questions like, “What concerns, if any, do you have about being back in the office/workplace?”. Let employees know that you are interested in how this pandemic is affecting them individually.
  2. Evaluate whether or not you truly need people to be in the office during this peak pandemic season. If possible, give workers the option so that those who are most fearful can remain at home until a vaccine is available.
  3. Do what you can to mitigate the stress of working in the office if it’s required. Can you distance workers more? Can you adjust schedules to reduce the number of people present at any given time? Options may vary from company to company, but genuinely try to find ways to help.