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Returning to Work after COVID: How to Manage Anxiety

The majority of us have spent the past year more isolated than we have ever been before. With lockdown restrictions in full place from March 2020 and continuing throughout the majority of the last year, many people spent the lockdown on furlough or remote working. A complete contrast to the fast-paced British work culture we are used to. 

In 2020, remote working became a crucial tool for rescuing jobs by allowing employees to work from home. Over a year later, the government are finally beginning to ease lockdown restrictions with all restrictions set to end completely on June 21st, 2021.  

Many people are finding themselves confused about what this means for the future of jobs. Will we return to the workplace Monday – Friday? Will we continue to work from home? What happens if there is another rise in COVID-19 cases? 

Some people have also developed anxiety about returning to the workplace after so long away. In fact, Bdaily’s research found that 65% of workers are suffering with ‘return to work’ anxiety. So, if you are a little bit anxious, it’s safe to say you’re not alone in feeling that way.  

In this article we’ve highlighted some tips we think you might find some useful for coping with anxiety.

After a year of working from home, returning to the office is a daunting affair.

It’s Ok to Be Anxious 

It’s important to remind yourself that it is perfectly normal to be a little bit anxious. We’ve all been living in uncertain times so your feelings are valid and understandable. Many people are anxious about returning to work so you are not alone. You may even find that some of your colleagues feel the same. 

Your return to work will likely be a gradual process. Make sure to give yourself some time to get used to it. Why not find a routine that will help you adjust and try to stick to it as much as possible? The important thing is to know you’re not alone and feeling anxious is not something to be ashamed of. With the right mindset and support system, anxiety can give way to reassurance. 

The New Normal 

Perhaps, the best thing you can do to prepare for your return to work is to accept that things will be different! COVID has meant we have all had to adjust to sudden changes over the past year. There will likely be some small changes at your workplace but it’s important to remember that it is all for a good cause. 

You can familiarize yourself with any new policies and listen out for changes to Government guidelines. There are plenty of tips on about working safely during COVID-19 for both employees and employers. It’s worthwhile to remind yourself that not all changes are negative. Some changes can be positive and you may find the changes to your workplace beneficial.

You’re not the only one experiencing these feelings. Talk to your boss or fellow employees about your concerns!

Speak to Your Boss 

The best thing you can do in most cases is to speak with your employer. They will likely already have prepared for people to feel a little apprehensive about returning to work. You can take the initiative to ask them about the measures in place. If you are concerned about your health and being exposed to the virus, you can ask them about the specific health measures that will be used to keep you and your colleagues safe.  

We also have an article on our blog that explains how businesses can implement digital wellbeing in the workplace. It’s valuable to remember that your employer is there to help you. They may have experienced some of the same feelings about the lockdown and will likely be eager to accommodate your return to the office. 

Hybrid working – splitting your time between your home and the office – could be an exciting new way to work.

Hybrid Working 

Hybrid working or remote working is very likely to become the norm. Hybrid working is defined by Personnel Today as ‘a form of flexible working that allows employees to split their time between attending the workplace and working remotely (typically from home)’. If you are struggling with social anxiety about returning to work, this could be an effective solution to your problem. 

You might feel worried about having to interact with your colleagues in person. Many employees have enjoyed the flexibility of working from home. Some people have even found that they are more productive than when they are at work.  

If you have the option to work remotely and have done so over the past year, speak to your employer about your options. You could use hybrid working as a temporary solution to ease yourself into being back in the workplace. 

Helpful Habits 

Your daily habits can be crucial to your overall well-being. When you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, healthy habits can help you better manage these feelings. Ensure that you get enough rest and implement habits such as healthy eating and exercise into your daily routine. 

Mindfulness is a useful technique for coping with different types of anxiety. There are tons of effective meditation practices that can help calm your nerves. You can read more about the benefits of mindfulness in the form of meditation, writing and exercise here

Try to foster a positive mindset by paying attention to your feelings.

In conclusion 

Many people are experiencing anxiety about ‘the new normal’. Remind yourself that you have plenty of options; you can speak to your boss, explore flexible working and maintain positive habits. After reading this article, you should hopefully find it easier to manage your anxiety about returning to work.  

If you are struggling with anxiety, you can always seek help from a professional. Get in contact with mental health services such as Mind or Samaritans for support. 

If you would like to learn more about how Ceed can help your build and strengthen your mind, you can contact us today. 

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