Many workers around the country have been away from the office for over a year. But with virus cases declining and the economy opening back up, workers are returning to the office. For some, there are cheers of excitement, and for others, this is a living nightmare. The pandemic has affected us all differently, and many Americans are dreading the return to working on-site. If this is how you feel, you are amongst the 33% of workers not ready to go back to the office. If this is your current predicament, here is how to mentally prepare to return to the office.
Take a deep breath
If your return to the office is near and you are feeling anxious, take a deep breath. Leaving your home to head back to the office can be intimidating. It’s essential to take a moment to pause, refocus, and recenter yourself. When returning to work, there may be a lot of unknowns; a lot has changed over the last year, and it’s natural to feel a little uneasy about leaving the comfort of your home. So, if you feel anxious, try to do something that relaxes you or reduces your stress, whether that’s a little meditation, a walk with your dog, or just reading your favorite book. The most important thing about returning to the office is taking care of yourself and your mental health.
Ask for expectations
Every company has been affected differently. For some, minor changes are happening, and everything will be “business as usual.” However, other companies are drastically changing with new staff members, procedures, and possibly even a new office space. In other words, there can be a lot of unknowns. Thus, it’s essential to ask for expectations if your employer has yet to share them. Ask your supervisor what you can expect. Are there new safety rules and procedures that you should be aware of? Will your employer require you to wear a mask at all times in the office? Is the office going to be cleaned regularly as a precaution? These are things that might help put your mind at ease to make this transition a little smoother. Understanding your employer’s expectations will help you mentally prepare for your return.
Talk to your colleagues and supervisor
If you still feel anxious about your return to the office, you should communicate your feelings with your colleagues and supervisor. You are not alone with your emotions, and it may help to discuss them with your co-workers and friends at work. If you are comfortable sharing your vulnerabilities, talking with your co-workers can be an excellent outlet for these emotions and hopefully help settle some of these nerves. Also, it’s critical to communicate your feelings to your supervisor. If something makes you anxious, you can hopefully work with your manager to address these issues. Letting your boss know how you feel can help your company adjust its policies and procedures better to accommodate you and your colleagues during this transition.
Schedule breaks throughout your day
When you work from home, it can be easier to step away from your computer and take a much-needed break. When working from the office, it isn’t easy to step away and take a few minutes for yourself. With co-workers, you can get wrapped into conversation with colleagues, stepping in to help a teammate, or keep chugging away at your work activities. However, you must take breaks throughout the day to feel refreshed and productive. If you are a person that likes to schedule things out in advance, block out a few minutes of your day for a brief walk around the office or to grab a cup of coffee. These short scheduled breaks can help reduce your anxiety and make it easier to prepare for your new normal working lifestyle.
This transition will impact everyone differently. As the world begins to return to normal and you prepare to return to the office, these practices will help reduce some of these emotions.