The country is beginning to open up again. This means that many of us will be returning to our places of work after over a year of working from home.
While this return is a welcome break from the dreariness of home working, it can also be a cause of major anxiety. Returning to a sense of normality ironically feels very abnormal!
That is why we have pulled together some short tips to help fight the sense of Return to Work Anxiety. Hopefully these can put some of your worries to bed as we return to work.
Your employer is probably one of the last people you want to speak to about something as personal as anxiety. It can be difficult to be open and candid with someone who is also your boss. But it is worth keeping in mind that, not only are they probably feeling anxious about the return to work, one of their primary functions as a manager is to make sure that their employees feel safe and happy. At this moment in time, many employers are carrying out risk assessments and taking clear steps to make sure workplaces are safe. So speak with your manager or employer and get as much information as you can about how the workplace will be adapted and how people will move around within it. Having as much information as possible will help abate those feelings of anxiety, and create a precedent for honest communication with your employer.
We’ve all lost count of how many times this has been said – but we are truly living in unprecedented and unique times. It is not often that we are all experiencing profound life changes at the exact same moment. But what has made the pandemic such an affecting event is also what can give us reassurance. The fact that we are all in this together, as friends, families and co-workers, naturally allows for a shared solidarity that makes open and honest communication much easier. Chances are, if you are feeling anxious about returning to work, then your co-workers are as well.
Working from home has a routine of its own. And this routine is likely incredibly simple: invariably a version of rolling out of bed and into the shower, then making a coffee and sitting at a desk for 8 hours before turning off and watching telly. The normal workplace routine is much more complicated – use this to your advantage! Use the commute to work as a way of getting some reading done, or your lunch hour as an excuse to roam around and explore for a bit. Re-establishing the work routine you had pre-COVID is a perfect way to counter the anxious feelings you may have. Reminding yourself of normality is a sure-fire way of returning to it.
We have all been experiencing some kind of trauma this past year or so. We’ve all been affected by the pandemic, no matter who or where we are. And as with all kinds of trauma, the healing process can be slow and we all have our individual ways of dealing with things. Just because your co-workers seem nonplussed about returning to work, does not mean that your feelings of anxiety are not legitimate. The mental recovery from the pandemic is a step-by-step process, and we all need to recognise that this process is different for everyone.