As managers and leaders discuss and plan for a transition back to the workplace, many of us may be starting to think and experience a range of feelings at the thought of what this means. We also recognise the many people that have continued to go to the workplace over the last two years. All our thoughts and feelings during these uncertain times are normal as we are all different, and there is no right or wrong way to feel. For those of us who may be feeling a little anxious or uncertain about returning to the workplace, here are some ideas to think about while you are preparing for the transition:
1. Acknowledge your feelings and anxieties. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to process your feelings. Do not judge yourself and tell yourself how you “should” be feeling.
2. Identify your concerns and think about what you can control and what is out of your control. Focus on what you can control, e.g. how will I manage being around more people? What can I do to keep safe? Plan and think about what will help you.
3. Take it day by day - you are not returning to “normal” there may not be a normal like it was. Recognising that things will be different is important. Try to go slow and avoid doing too much. Give yourself time to adjust, share stories and talk about how you are feeling. This is reassuring and helps with the awkwardness of the transition, which doesn't feel normal or comfortable yet.
4. Ask your manager for information, ask questions, share your concerns, connect with peers and share problem-solving. Others are probably feeling similarly, and there is comfort in sharing and problem solving together.
5. Remember your self-care routines which helped you before, regular breaks, eat healthily, get exercise, sleep well, engage in enjoyable activities and relaxation. And importantly, with the easing of physical distancing restrictions connect socially (and safely) with people who are important to you.
6. If you continue to struggle, ask for help from your peers, friends, family or a professional.
Remember, as your EAP, we are here to support you whatever the nature of your concerns. For a confidential conversation with one of our experienced clinical professionals, please contact Newport & Wildman on 1800 605 204.