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Workers unpack top return to work concerns

4 minute read

The Finance Sector Union has penned a letter to over 50 banks calling for their staff to have a say in returning to the office.

The Finance Sector Union (FSU) has written to over 50 banks, insurance companies and super funds demanding more choice about returning to the office.

According to an FSU survey, 75 per cent of its members are concerned about the time and costs of commuting if required to return to the office.

The union explained that while workers saved money not travelling to work in 2020 and 2021, the rising cost of living and the rising cost of fuel are hitting workers hard in 2022.


One worker said working from home has “improved my finances by at least $5,000 per year and freed up about 15 days per year”.

Another major concern for FSU members is the increased risk of contracting COVID. According to the FSU, 69 per cent of its members said they have real fears about their safety and the safety of their families.

“The pandemic is not over, and I can’t believe we’re being told to go back to the office when there are still tens of thousands of new cases or more per day,” one respondent said.

“Being forced to return will cause me tremendous anxiety which will severely impact my health and productivity,” another said.

A majority of members also expressed concern with their mental health, with 60 per cent noting significant mental and physical health benefits of working from home.

Workers told FSU that working from home gave them the ability to exercise more and improve their physical and mental health, often contributing to improved productivity. Women also reported feeling safer not having to commute in the evenings when it is dark.

“It’s done wonders for the mental health of myself and my partner  we’ve been able to support each other throughout the day, which has helped tremendously with our mental health challenges and brought us closer together. We’re able to take the dog out for a walk each morning and do some exercise now that we don’t have to commute into the city, which has also helped a lot for both our physical and mental health,” a member said.

Moreover, more than one in every two surveyed workers (57 per cent) said they are concerned about managing their caring responsibilities and losing time with their children if required to go back to the office.

“If employers are going to implement their own policies around work flexibility, mental health support, staff wellbeing and family and caring principles, they need to give employees the choice, where possible, to continue to work from home,” the FSU underlined, noting that a lack of true flexibility will affect staff retention.

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja's career in journalism spans well over a decade across finance, business and politics. Now an experienced editor and reporter across all elements of the financial services sector, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies.