The CEO of a bank in Australia is getting slammed for ordering staff back to the office not for productivity — but for ‘mental health’

There’s a furious debate about the future of work as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A regional bank CEO in Australia has ordered employees to return to the office more often.
She said the return-to-office is for the employees’ own “mental health” rather than for productivity.
Her comments sparked a roaring backlash among the bank’s staffers, per

The CEO of a regional bank in Australia ordered her staff back to the office for their own “mental health” rather than for productivity, sparking a roaring backlash against her comments.

“We are better together,” Marnie Baker, the CEO and managing director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, said in a video of the livestream obtained by on Wednesday.

“This is not about productivity. I don’t doubt that you can be productive, so it’s not about productivity. This is about our own mental health, this is about the fact that we are a relationship bank, and we talk about our relationships with our customers and communities,” she said.

She added in the video that bank staff at the front line have been in the office “the whole way through, five days a week,” so “it is not too much to ask” the rest of the company to go into the office more often. She also said in-person interactions in the office are more conducive to innovative thinking.

And Baker’s comments have now sparked a backlash among the bank’s staffers, reported

“I can unequivocally say my mental health has, in fact, taken a massive downturn at the mandate of having to lose sleep and add two hours per day to my working day, as well as the ‘hot-desking, activity-based working setup’ of the office where it’s a raffle as to who and where you will sit on these days,” an unnamed bank staffer told the news outlet.

Baker told Insider on Thursday the bank asked employees to be in the office at least two days a week but will continue to support hybrid work.

“Bendigo and Adelaide Bank understands the way our people work has changed, with many embracing working remotely and the flexibility it provides in creating work/life balance,” Baker said in the statement.

The Australian regional bank is not the only company grappling with the future of the workplace post-pandemic.

High-profile business leaders, including Elon Muskthe CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, and billionaire investor Marc Andreessen, all weighed in on the issue as they advocate a return to office.

In particular, younger workers would benefit from mentorship opportunities in person, per Dimon and Andreessen.

Dimon even said employees can go work elsewhere if they don’t like long commutes into the office. Meanwhile, Musk told CNBC in a May interview that remote work was “morally wrong.” 

Even Goldman Sachs wants staffers to return to the office five days a week, upping the crackdown on working from home.  

Read the original article on Business Insider

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