July 12, 2021

Return To The Office

Author:  Colleen Dillon, RN, BSW, BSN, CCM    

 

Over a year ago I wrote a blog post on How to Manage Stress and Anxiety in the Workplace Amid the Covid-19 Outbreak. As more people are being vaccinated there is a new concern emerging; the concern of returning to the office. 

Many of us have been fortunate to work from home this past year. Adjusting to the disruption COVID-19 has brought, it is predictable that individuals will have concerns about returning to the office after being told that staying at home was one of the main prevention measures. While many of us may have missed the community like-feeling we get from being in an office environment, many have concerns about returning to the office.

Everyone’s concerns are different just as everyone’s fears initially surrounding COVID-19 were diverse. For some it may simply be another adjustment in a new established routine. Others may have continued public- health concerns, while some may have to adjust to socially interacting with people.

The apprehension about returning to the office is normal and we need to be patient with ourselves. We also need to recognize that there will likely be new protocols in place (i.e., temperature checks, mask wearing, and social distancing measures).

- Give yourself space to readjust. This may take days or weeks and you likely will feel more tired than you are used to.

Some things you can do to help ease your concerns is knowledge:

  • 1. Anticipation is often much worse than the actual experience. Be prepared and stay informed. Make sure you are aware of your employers Covid-19 safety policy. The policy should include the protocols and practices put in place by your employer for the safety and health of its employees. You may feel better knowing when cleanings take place and what measures are in place, but also understand you will not be able to control everything.  Lack of control is scary but recognizing being back in the office is once again a new experience.
  • 2. Do not be afraid to ask for help. The past year has been challenging for many people. Talk to your managers and coworkers if you need help or are having problems adjusting. You will not be going through this by yourself as likely, many others may have the same concerns as well.
  • 3. Try to find the positives! Just as negativity regarding change is contagious so is a positive attitude. Start thinking of the positive aspects of returning to the office. Try to have fun when you are back. This could be wearing a funny mask or sharing video conferencing fails you had while adjusting to working from home.
  • 4. Consider a daily walk outside. Breathe. Taking the time to pause and recenter yourself if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed.
  • 5.  If the concern about returning to the office is becoming too overwhelming, please consider contacting a mental health professional independently or you may check with your employer about available resources such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Returning to the office will be a new adjustment experienced by many. Remember this is a unique experience we have all been through together as a community but just as we made it through together, we will continue together.

 

Disclaimer: This Blog is intended to provide you with entertaining and educational information of a general nature. The articles are for editorial purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified professional.  Please contact AXA Assistance USA if you have any questions.

 

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