Whether you are eager or not to return to work, companies are beginning the shift back to at least a partial week in the office. Many employers feel that face to face interaction helps with communication and camaraderie.
The Dreaded Return to Work
You may feel different. You may feel as though you were thriving and far more productive at home. Certainly, you didn’t have the commute time to worry about. You may have preferred the virtual environment.
Looking Forward to Normal
Or maybe you are looking forward to the office. Juggling online meetings, children, meals, etc. made it hard to concentrate. When you are in business mode, it can be hard to shift gears when the children are home and in need of attention.
Anxiety over the Return
Whether or not the return is welcome, aspects of the return to work will not be the same and will raise feeling of anxiety. Roughly 70% of workers are concerned of the return with the majority worried about exposure to COVID and fear of getting sick.
When we experience change, we tend to become resourceful and adapt to the new situation. Many of us were forced to create a virtual office in our home, whether that was a spare room or the dining room table, we made it happen. Now, as we transition to what was the previous normal, it will not be the same. Mask requirements are still in effect, we need to be careful in community areas, wash or sanitize our hands whenever we touch the coffee pot, and perhaps even have our temperatures taken as we enter the office.
Companies that are preparing to transition their employees back into the office need to recognize all the concerns that this raises for their employees. A great way to do this to build a hybrid work model that introduces the in-office requirements slowly and complement this with a rotational work schedule to minimize the number of employees in the office at any one time. This phased approach will help employees work out day care or babysitting concerns as well as allow employees to maintain a properly spaced work environment for safety.
Other actions employers can take is to install sanitizing stations around the office, focusing on entrances and community areas such as the break room and conference room. Employing good cleaning services for the office, policies for visitors, and good communication about these policies is paramount.
Planning to Reopen
OSHA provides some guidance for safe and healthful working conditions – in their Guidance on Returning to Work. As many employees have been working from home for over a year now, it is important that the return be well-orchestrated. Communication is the most important aspect of a safe return and will serve to minimize anxiety for all involved. As everyone’s personal situation is different, some may have much more anxiety than others about the safety of the move back to the office.
If you or a co-worker are experiencing feeling of anxiety over the return to work, reach out to us for personalized counseling. We offer teletherapy via text, video, or phone. Let us help you start your journey back to the office with a positive mental attitude!!!