Returning to work: Keys to a psychologically safer workplace - Deepstash
Returning to work: Keys to a psychologically safer workplace

Returning to work: Keys to a psychologically safer workplace

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Prioritising psychological safety

Prioritising psychological safety

The workforce is suffering from a rise in mental distress from the pandemic. There is a risk that returning to the workplace will cause millions of people to encounter stress and anxiety.

A new McKinsey survey found that a third of respondents did not want to return back to an office setting as it would negatively affect their mental health. 

Employers who prioritise psychological safety in post-pandemic operations can help employees' mental health and attempts to cultivate inclusive workplaces.


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Safety and flexibility

Safety and flexibility

According to the June survey, those who have not returned from remote to on-site work,

  • 19% expect that returning will have a positive impact on their mental health
  • 49% anticipate going back will have negative effects

Of those who worked remotely during the pandemic and have returned to on-site work,

  • 36% reported adverse mental health effects of on-site work
  • 37% reported positive effects
  • 44% of respondents with children reported negative mental health impact compared with 27% with no children at home


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COVID-19 safety and flexible work arrangements could help alleviate stress.

  • 62% of respondents requested improved air filtration.
  • 60% of employees asked for autonomy in determining when and where work gets done.
  • 62% of employees report that additional time off could alleviate stresses associated with returning to work on-site.


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How employers can help

Many organisations are planning lasting changes to operating models and adaptable mindsets to ensure their employees can work in inclusive environments.

  • Employers can design strategies that take diverse needs into account.
  • Communicating policies clearly and early can help manage anticipatory stress and help employees to plan for changes to their lives.
  • Some employers use a test-and-learn approach to flexible and hybrid work and adapt their practices.
  • Employees' well-being can be improved by addressing negative attitudes and discriminatory policies.


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Sometimes the most important life lessons are the ones we end up learning the hard way.


Employers can potentially reduce stress and anxiety for workers by considering their on-site return plan.

Brian 's ideas are part of this journey:

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