People are being asked to return to the office after working from home due to the waning pandemic, experts say it is completely normal to feel anxious, and it’s important to identify those concerns and talk to your employer to find ways to help make a smoother transition back into the office.
Jane Marks, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Tallahassee, said going back is a big shift, and it is perfectly reasonable to ask for things, like perhaps an office by a window. She recommended using the transition as an opportunity for positive change.
“The idea of going back to a work situation where you may have a little bit more control than you thought you had,” Marks observed. “People need you, they need you on the ground, they need boots on the ground, well, you are part of those boots.”
Marks added the pandemic has also shifted the idea of self-care. She asserted it is no longer a reward, but a requirement in terms of how we could manage our lives with balance. She recommended listening to our bodies, giving ourselves grace, being patient through stressful situations, eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
Dr. Nicole Brady, chief medical officer for United HealthCare employer and individual for Wisconsin and Michigan, said change can cause people to feel discomfort. So, it can help to use a calendar to plan out your day, so you can be prepared for what’s ahead.
“Packing a lunch ahead of time, knowing how we’re going to get kids to and from activities,” Brady outlined. “But stepping back and doing some advance planning can really alleviate some of that return-to-the-office stress.”
It also can help to find out what your company is doing to keep the office safe and mitigate the spread of COVID. Brady suggested using calming apps, which offer mindfulness and meditation exercises, plus access to peer groups and therapy services.