32% want to return to the office for their mental health

Nearly one-third of working Brits want to return to their offices this month (January) because they feel it would improve their mental health, according to new research.

Smart building management platform Infogrid interviewed 2,000 UK employees via a OnePoll online survey for its 2022 Hybrid workplace report, which revealed that 32% were keen on a swift return to the commute on mental wellbeing grounds now restrictions have eased.

However, asked more generally about when their mental health was best, a higher proportion chose working at home (28%) than from an office (23%) or a hybrid of both (22%).

Almost half of those polled said the opportunity to be around other people in a physical workspace boosted their wellbeing, compared with a third who cited the benefits of a commute to separate work and home life.

More than four in 10 employees believe their productivity improves when working in an office, according to the poll.

In addition to this, 63% value having access to an office or physical workplace, with 38% of the UK preferring a hybrid working model. A further 25% stated that they would prefer to work from an office full-time.

Some of the overall reasons cited for wanting to return to the office include working in a positive social environment, chosen by 35% of respondents, and the daily commute that provides time to transition between home and work life (23%).

However, 31% want better control over the number of people in the workplace and 30% would like the installation of better facilities to reduce virus transmission risk.

William Cowell de Gruchy, chief executive at Infogrid, said the findings make it clear that for hundreds of thousands of British staff, being able to go to the office or their physical workplace is a necessary part of maintaining their mental wellbeing, and many feel more productive in that setting too.

He explained that as we learn to live with Covid-19 (Coronavirus), businesses need to adopt processes and install technology to make genuine improvements to the workplace, while giving their employees peace of mind.

“A key takeaway from the pandemic must be that managing virus risk and keeping employees safe is a long-term necessity that brings with it benefits both for the health of employees as well as increasing productivity.

“It isn’t science fiction, the tech is out there to ensure physical workspaces are well-ventilated, comfortable and safe for people to return to the workplace and feel the broader benefits to their wellbeing.”