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Future of Work 2021

How your employer can support your transition back to the workplace

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Emma Mamo

Head of Workplace Wellbeing, Mind

The way we work has changed immeasurably since the pandemic began. With many employers gradually moving to ‘hybrid’ working, staff wellbeing must be prioritised.


We regularly survey staff across a range of employers of different sizes and sectors as part of our annual Workplace Wellbeing Index – our benchmark of best policy and practice when it comes to creating mentally healthy workplaces. Issues like stress, anxiety and depression are commonplace across the board, even before the pandemic. In 2020/21, we surveyed over 40,000 staff working across 114 organisations, two in five (41%) told us their mental health had worsened during the pandemic.

There are a number of factors taking their toll on employee’s mental health, including those related to the economic climate, such as fears about job security and redundancy. Remote working can be isolating, which can worsen our mental health, it can also be harder for colleagues to spot if someone is struggling with their mental health.

Transitioning to new ways of working

As restrictions start to ease, most employers are considering moving to a ‘hybrid’ way of working, whereby staff will be able to work partly from their former workspace and partly from home (or potentially another location). While some of us might welcome this ‘hybrid’ approach, particularly those who, for whatever reason, struggle with working from home all the time; others will be worried about dealing with crowded public transport; or once again facing long, expensive and stressful commutes.

In 2020/21, we surveyed over 40,000 staff working across 114 organisations, two in five (41%) told us their mental health had worsened during the pandemic.

Your employer has an essential role to play in helping you feel safe and comfortable about returning to work when appropriate. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to supporting the mental health of staff. It’s essential employers get regular feedback from staff to identify trends on what is and isn’t working and make changes.

If you have a disability, which can include a mental health problem (as defined under the Equality Act 2010), your employer has a legal duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to your role, which could include changes to your hours or workspace.

Normalising mental health

While the pandemic has meant many more of us are facing difficulties with our mental health, it has also provided a significant opportunity to talk about mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. As conversations around mental health are normalised, we hope that employers have recognised the need to support staff wellbeing, particularly for those whose mental health has been hardest hit by the pandemic.

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