While the return to the office will bring a much-needed sense of normality for some working from home, it will understandably be a source of stress and trepidation for others.
With over half of workers still not ready to return to the office and a rise in the return to work anxiety, we’re here to provide a few tips to smooth the transition.
1. Explore New Ways of Working
If you’d like to continue working from home at least some of the time, then it’s well worth discussing flexible working arrangements with your manager. They may be willing to let you start earlier or later to avoid busy commuting times or even explore the possibility of working from home a few days a week. Even if your employer hasn’t formally introduced a flexible working policy in response to Covid, it’s still well worth having this chat.
2. Give Yourself Time to Adjust
While some people will be delighted to get back to the office, that’s certainly not the case for everyone, so don’t feel guilty or put pressure on yourself to return to the office more quickly than you’re comfortable with. If your office has opened on an optional basis, then start by trying one or two days a week until you have to return full time. That will give you the chance to ease yourself back in without such a culture shock.
3. Take Care of Your Health
It’s totally normal to be anxious about the impact that returning to the workplace could have on your mental and physical health. Before your return date, you should find out what rules and restrictions have been implemented to keep you safe. Seeking out your return to work policy is a great place to start.
You should also consider (and be vocal about) the changes that you’d like your employer to make to protect your physical health. One small change employers are adopting is providing their returning employees with free baskets of fruit at work. The benefits of this, both physical and mental, are well documented.
This can help to promote the importance of physical health, boost immune systems and show is a unique way for employers to communicate that they do indeed care about the wellbeing of their staff.
4. Respect the Needs of Others
You might be excited by the prospect of going back to work, but that doesn’t mean everyone will be. Everyone has experienced the pandemic differently, which is why it’s so important to ask questions, be mindful and make space for people who are anxious.
5. Set Your Boundaries
Working from home has blurred boundaries between many people’s personal and professional lives and given rise to the ‘always on’ mentality. When you go back to the workplace, it’s your chance to reset those boundaries and make sure people know when you’re available and when you’re not.
Are you looking forward to the return to work or is it a source of anxiety? Please share your thoughts with our readers in the comments below.