2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic that has engulfed it will undoubtedly go down as one of the most unprecedented years in modern history. The virus continues to disrupt livelihoods around the world, throwing up challenges that many have never experienced before. But at Spartan, we believe that challenges are merely obstacles that, when you put your mind to it, can be overcome, allowing you to emerge stronger on the other side.
One of the biggest changes that we have had to adapt to has been a shift in workplace culture. The outbreak and national lockdown that followed meant that companies were forced to close their offices and instigate remote working practices.
However, as things are slowly returning to some kind of normality, companies are starting to bring employees back off the government-led furlough scheme and integrate their staff into the office space once more.
Despite companies overwhelming desire to get back to work, however, there is one major obstacle to getting back to normal—fear. The thought of returning to the office after months of absence may be a daunting proposition for many. In fact, a recent CBS News survey showed that only 44% of workers are comfortable going to a workplace outside of their own homes. That means more than half of all employees lack the confidence to return to their offices or worksites.
We have a few pieces of advice for anyone who has ‘return to work anxiety’ so that we can overcome this latest obstacle together.
Don’t beat yourself up:
First and foremost, it is natural to feel slightly distressed and uncertain given the current circumstances. Remember to be kind to yourself as it’s an incredibly challenging time for everyone. We have had to spend a lot of time at home in recent months, so suddenly returning back to the workplace can provoke thoughts of unsafety and potential risk; remember that you are not the only one feeling like this.
Do not suffer in silence. If you are worried or anxious about the possibility of catching and spreading Coronavirus in the office then make sure that you talk to your employer. Worry comes from the unknown, therefore getting reassurances from your line manager or HR department about the risk mitigation measures they are putting in place should make you feel much less apprehensive.
Maintain a good daily routine:
It may feel like everything is constantly changing around you, but you can instill a bit of stability by simply maintaining a regular routine. Get up at the same time, eat your meals at a similar time and make sure you get your exercise in. Once in the office, take regular breaks and don’t overdo it! All these little things will help you to feel more comfortable and less stressed.
Reconsider your commute:
If you normally rely on public transport to get to work and are concerned about the potential infection risks then you might want to consider other ways of commuting. If you are lucky enough to live close enough then you could cycle, walk or run into work, which inturn raises those all important, mood-boosting endorphin levels. Failing that, you could speak to your boss about changing up your hours so that you are not travelling on public transport at peak times.
This ‘return to work anxiety’ is just another obstacle in your path that you can and will overcome. Remember, the toughest and hardest roads have the greatest rewards.