People feel more connected to colleagues since returning to office

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A survey of more than 2,000 people across Australia has found many believe the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to them feeling more connected to their colleagues since returning to the office.

The survey, commissioned by Medibank’s Live Better Rewards, exploited attitudes to relationships with colleagues, return to working in the office, health and wellbeing, and working from home.

Medibank group executive of people culture Kylie Bishop said the survey found that 41 per cent of those in paid jobs believe they feel more connected to colleagues since returning to the office.

“They highlighted a focus on supporting each other and shared experience of the pandemic as some of the reasons they’ve been able to increase the bond with their colleagues,” she said.

The survey also looked at the impact returning to the office had on the amount of exercise Australians were doing including incidental activity like walking to public transport or walking to buy a coffee or lunch.

“28% of those surveyed in paid jobs reported that they are exercising more since returning to the office while 22% are getting less physical activity. A majority of people are positive about the return to the office, with just 13% dissatisfied.

“Of those that were dissatisfied, 72% said it was because of the commute, 65% said there was less flexibility in the day and 57% less time for themselves.”

Over one-quarter (28 per cent) of full-time employees said they spent more hours working in 2020 compared to previous years, with millennials reporting the highest increase in work hours.

Ms Bishop said there have been some positives to come out of what has been a difficult 18 months.

“We’ve all had to adapt to the changing situation during COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. It’s clear Australians have showed a huge amount of resilience.

“Employers have really stepped up by providing their teams with more flexibility and support over the past 18 months, to help employees adjust to new ways of working,” said Ms Bishop.