With the implementation of Lockdown Level 2, more and more companies will bring people back into the workplace. If you’re feeling uneasy, you’re not alone.

There are a lot of mixed feelings; while some might be eager to finally get out of the house, a good number of people are very anxious. A recent poll indicated that only 25% of employees are ready to return to a regular work schedule while 75% felt that they would prefer to work from home, and only go into the office when needed. The world has changed and environmental cues such as sanitation stations, masks, screens, and social distancing will continue to remind us of the threat we face.

Thing is, as our new normal merged work-life and home-life into one, we became resourceful and creative. And with time - cocooned in the safety of our homes - we have adapted. Hey, we’ve figured out how to turn dining rooms into offices and kitchens into classrooms!  Let’s face it, returning to the workplace full time will take planning and support.

There is no playbook for re-entering the workplace during a global pandemic. This is a first for all of us. But there are science-backed ways to manage stress and keep productivity up during this unprecedented time.

We have a few tips on how to minimise stress as we transition through the phases of reopening:

  • Acknowledge and address anxiety. A constant state of heightened stress can derail your physical health and immunity. Find someone to talk to. If it’s not your boss, talk to a colleague, or invest in a therapist. Mismanaged anxiety can lead to unwanted consequences. Make use of stress-reduction apps, practice mindfulness and self-care.
  • Prepare to have a shorter fuse. We need to readjust to a team. Changing conditions will require patience. Keep in mind that fellow employees are experiencing their own transition. So, show compassion and stock up on patience.
  • Celebrate the opportunity to reconnect. Enjoy the little things that have been absent over the past few months. Have coffee breaks and one-on-one conversations with colleagues. This might seem insignificant, but it will help to establish normality back into your routine.
  • Be kind. Some people have been ill or are bereaving family or friends. Share experiences and thoughts and take action to support colleagues. Swap “How are you?” with “What challenges are you facing now?” or “What’s on your mind?”
  • Manage your expectations. Redefine productivity. Find respectful ways to self-advocate. If you are still figuring out childcare or home-school logistics, let your boss know and if need be, ask for flexibility.
  • Keep your guard up. The easing of restrictions doesn’t mean that the threat is over. Keep taking precautions – wash your hands for 20 seconds while taking deep breaths, have sanitiser and disinfecting wipes handy, and clean surfaces often. Wear a mask and don’t shake someone’s hand.

A year from now, if someone asks how living through COVID-19 changed you, how do you want to answer? Regardless of the difficulties, you get to decide how this shapes the person you want to be.

Be safe everyone.

Source: coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au, wework.com, biospace.com, stewartmckelvey.com, safetyandhealthmagazine.com, vuelio.com, independent.co.uk, hbr.org

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.