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Survey: Anxiety Builds For Workers As Return To Office Seems Imminent

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - More than 75% of American executives plan to ask their employees to be back in the office by July, according to PwC.

The PwC survey finds 68% of bosses want people in the office at least three days a week, whereas 55% of workers want to be remote at least three days a week.

After more than a year of masking up, sheltering in place, and working from home, the concept of returning is causing stress levels to spike in a way that mirrors the beginning of the lockdown.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Jonathan Horowitz says more people have been reaching out because of the pandemic, and now he's seeing the stressors of returning to so-called "normal" show up in therapy sessions.

"At the beginning, it was all, how do we take it offline? How do we move home? How do we deal with that? And now it's: How do we go in the other direction?" Horowitz said.

Jennifer Hymes is a licensed clinical social worker. She said the pandemic exacerbated existing conditions and situations for some who were already struggling. "I saw a definite increase in people getting back on medication, increasing medication, a lot of insomnia, lot of panic attacks," she says.

Hymes suggested a hybrid model for returning to work might ease the transition. "I'm gonna go back twice a week. I'm gonna see how I like it. And I've already had clients who have done that, and for some, they love it, and for some, it really does feel weird," she said.

Sean Lama says he's looking forward to getting back to work, with one exception. "My main concern is public transportation to be honest because even before the pandemic, I actually would catch colds all the time," he says.

Doctors said once you're back, keeping strict work boundaries can help relieve stress. "When I log off from work, I'm done. And it's made a huge difference," says Lama

The pandemic has taken a toll on mental health, so doctors recommend talking with your health care provider if you have concerns.

A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds 41% of adults report having anxiety and/or depression right now, pre-pandemic that number was 11%.
For more information on that poll:

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