Amid growing resentment against remote working and hardline return-to-office mandates, should banks now disclose mental health statistics in their workplaces by the end of the year? That is the argument made by workplace activist Ian Dodd, a former Microsoft, Expedia and Skype leader

This follows reports of Deutsche Bank calling on staff to return to the office, an order that was met with vociferous backlash from their employees. Bank of America has taken a similar approach, issuing cautionary letters to employees not meeting their in-office requirements.

Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase are among the companies that have formalised their approach to workplace mental health.

The mental health services currently offered by these large banks are in most cases superficial

Dodd, who between 2018 and 2021 was the managing director of global recruiting at Goldman Sachs, believes return-to-office mandates are yet another ‘nail in the coffin’ for workplace mental health, and proof that large organisations, especially banks, are not taking the protection of their employees’ mental wellbeing seriously. 

Dodd said: “I can understand why banks will be doing all they can to usher people back to the office, after all, they’ll be trying to justify their office rent and operating costs. But, in reality, these mandates are doing quite the opposite. They’re affecting the mental health of their staff and now they need to be held accountable for any potential harm.

“The mental health services currently offered by these large banks are in most cases superficial, they side-step the real problems and needs and represent mere marketing ploys. Banks must move away from these evasive and inadequate services. They need to transition towards a new era of accountability. They need to publish honest disclosures about the epidemiology of mental health conditions among their staff, the effectiveness of their support, and most importantly the performance of strategic leadership and cultural programmes in addressing their current lag. Mental health deserves and should be a top priority for these banks, their names, logos, and heritage no longer give them protection from scrutiny.” 

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