Returning to work soon?

As many regions around Australia and the globe start to open up again, people will gradually begin to go back to working in their offices with hopes that the worst is behind us. However, for most companies, returning to work will not mean a return to normal. Many employees feel confused, stressed, and anxious over the changes around them – regardless of whether this means having to commute in peak times, more people coming into work, or working close by colleagues and clients again. Companies are exploring new hybrid working plans, while others will consider a range of adjustments to how work is done to comply with the government’s Standard Operating Procedures.

Everyone’s situation is unique. However, as you approach your changed workplace, let’s explore ways to ease back into in-office work life!

1. Be kind to yourself

Go back to work with realistic expectations. It is a tough time for everybody, so it’s better to expect things to be different from having idealized expectations of your former workplace culture. As humans, we can find it challenging to adjust to new changes, so you’re not alone dealing with stress or nervousness when returning to work.

2. One step at a time

The way we all work is likely to keep changing, so you will need to keep adjusting. Don’t expect everything to return to normal quickly. We have a long journey ahead. We may not be able to go back to our old ways of working for some time – and if we are lucky, this could allow us to do things differently and better. Look out for yourself, look out for others and take each day and week at a time.

3. Control your stress response. 

Change is hard for everybody, and accepting that the difference you will experience will cause anxiety and help you understand it effectively. Practicing anxiety relief behaviour at home can be used in the workplace, such as making a cuppa camomile tea, practicing focused breathing techniques, and mindfulness meditation during the workday when you feel anxiety creeping in. Managing stress every day is key to a successful return to work.

4. Make social distancing a priority.

It is essential to maintain physical distance from each other even after returning to work, apart from the obvious things like avoiding the kitchen or break-out areas. You can phone or video call people, even if they are in the same building as you. 

5. Opt for virtual collaboration

Virtual collaborations help you maintain physical distance even if you are back in the office. Instead of reaching out to each other, you can use a collaboration tool to communicate and do various tasks.

To avoid physical proximity in the workplace, you can opt for team collaboration tools for keeping your team together even when working from the same building.

Ensure that you switch from in-person discussions to virtual meetings or any other alternative possible whenever required. There are virtually countless tools available in the market that can help you in virtual collaboration. You can pick the one that suits your requirements and budget and make your return-to-work smooth and safe!

6. Be each other’s support system.

It is a difficult transition for everyone. Seek out individuals within your company who would be willing to build a supportive relationship in which you talk openly (but constructively) about the challenges you face and brainstorm solutions. These people will understand your unique situation and offer you better advice for your current role. 

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