Slowly, our world is changing. A percentage of the population has been vaccinated and many employees are headed back to the office. For many, this causes anxiety – and understandably so. Here are few ways to help take the edge off of returning to the workplace.
Wake up Earlier
For some of you, working from home may have caused a shift in office hours. Maybe you began starting later and staying up later. Whatever your routine, it’s safe to say that generally office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In advance of your return to the office–perhaps a week before you expect to go back—set your alarm earlier. Each day, baby step it back a few minutes to the time you roused yourself before the shutdown began. Though things might never be the same, at least your re-entry into the work world might feel somewhat familiar.
Prepare the Night Before Your First Day
Along with starting your day earlier, think through everything you need to take with you. Do you drink coffee? Make sure you have a thermos with a hot cup of joe ready to go. Do you eat lunch at work? Make your lunch the night before; or if you prefer microwavable meals, be sure you’ve got all your favorites ready to pop into your work bag. Ensuring that you will have sustenance at whatever time you take lunch will save you a lot of worries.
Review Your Workplace Protocols
Here we’re talking about rules to keep you safe. Do you need a mask if you’ve been vaccinated? What if you haven’t been vaccinated? Do you need to always wear a mask? Will there be hand sanitizer on site or do you need to bring your own? Email HR or leadership to learn of the policies so you can keep up-to-date with any changes. Staying informed will help calm your nerves.
Manage Your Stress
Make sure you’re being mindful of how you’re feeling emotionally before, during, and after you return to work. If you’re dealing with anxiety when you’re back at work, practice self-care. Take a walk outside during lunch to get some fresh air. If you like to exercise and your gym is open, plan a quick workout. If for some reason you can’t leave the office, try meditation apps like Calm, Headspace, or Simple Habit. (These are also great when you get home and before you go to bed – anytime, actually.) You might also call a friend or family member and share how you’re feeling. Letting off some steam and expressing yourself helps alleviate some of the pressure that might be building up.
Communicate with Your Team
Making the transition back to the office can be challenging, if not downright tough. To diffuse any misunderstandings, practice transparency with everyone, no matter what their position. If you’re a manager, lay out your expectations so that everyone is on the same page. If you’re an individual contributor, make sure your manager and peers know what you’re working on, your hours, and any out-of-the-office days you have coming up. Many companies are asking employees, initially, to split their time between the office and home, which means that for some a full transition back to the office is yet to come. Regardless, overcommunicating will ensure you don’t miss out on anything important.
We may never return to the days before the pandemic. However, we’re making strides to get back to a place of normalcy and are here to guide you every step of the way.