New research indicates that the majority of UK professionals feel anxious about the prospect of returning to the office imminently. 

A new study by CV-Library indicates that, in the lead-up to restrictions being lifted in England, over half of UK professionals feel anxiety about going back to the office.

55 per cent reported feeling some kind of anxiety about the impending return to work after over a year of working from home.

When asked why they felt this way, almost three-quarters (73 per cent) shared that they preferred the flexibility of working from home.

Over half (44 per cent) actually reported that they are more productive when they are not in the office – raising key questions about presenteeism in the workplace.

Close to two-fifths (37 per cent) confessed it was the office politics that they did not wish to deal with on their return.

Finally, around a third (33 per cent) cited health and safety concerns – with this group feeling uncomfortable with returning to the office due to the risk of catching COVID-19.

Despite these widespread feelings of anxiety about an office return, less than a quarter (23.2 per cent) felt comfortable enough to discuss their worries with a manager.

A further three-quarters (73.9 per cent) of UK workers said their employer hadn’t offered any mental health support to help staff make the transition back into the workplace.

However, of the workplaces that did implement support, almost half offered a staggered return to work and regular check-ins with a manager (45.7 per cent), followed closely by access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) (40 per cent) and a ‘how to’ guide, to help staff prepare (28.6 per cent).

Lee Biggins, CEO and Founder of CV-Library, said:

After such a turbulent year, it’s understandable that businesses are keen to get staff back through the doors.

However, it’s important the employers remain open to the idea of more flexible working patterns. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the UK job market in many ways, and the adoption of remote working is definitely one of them.

Business owners need to listen to the needs of their staff and update their flexible working policy if needed. It’s clear that many companies can operate with the majority of their staff working remotely, so embracing this revolution is the best way to move forward throughout 2021.

Any employers that fail to do so may find it increasingly difficult to retain and attract new team members during a vital time of recovery and as we emerge from lockdown and restrictions.

*To obtain this research, CV-Library surveyed around 1,100 employees in the UK.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.