Whilst some folk have adjusted very quickly to working from home or being furloughed during lockdown, others are only just coming to terms with this new normal when once again we are on the brink of another set of changes. We don’t know yet what those changes will be but we do know that ultimately employees need to be able to return to work to be able to keep the show on the road to enable businesses to begin to bounce back from the effects that lockdown has had.
Many will revert back to former routines with ease, maybe with some adaptations as a result of learning new ways of working from our recent experiences, while others will feel stressed, fearful and anxious. If this is how you feel, what can you do to optimise the transition for positive outcomes?
Think about it as a goal. imagine being back at work and everything is working out for you. What do you see? What does your office set up look like? What positive changes have been made to help people return safely? Who is there with you? How do you feel about seeing your work colleagues again? Where is your work station and what does it look like? What is on your desk? Spend time thoroughly playing out in your imagination a successful return to work.
If being back at work is a 10, how ready do you feel now, out of 10? What have you already done in preparation for returning? Who are you in contact with at work? What work are you still doing at home, if any? There will be things with which you are familiar, such as the nature of the work, your relationship with colleagues, the routines you have developed in getting ready for work and the commute to and from work. Think about all the positives of being back at work such as access to technology, equipment, your team and work colleagues etc.
Think about what is concerning you about returning to work and write it down. Of the list you have made, what is within your control to influence and what is outside your control? What actions need to be taken to take you 1 step closer to being ready to go back to work? Who could you speak to about them? Connect and talk to your work colleagues. What ideas can you all come up with to ease the transition to return to work safely? Talking to others and keeping channels of communication open will help you to feel included and “in it together”. Who else needs to know how you are feeling? When we get stressed or anxious, there is a temptation to withdraw so it’s incredibly important to reach out so that you can get support and reassurance.
Once you have your list of actions to take, go through the list and put a timescale to each action. Be realistic about what you know you can achieve. You may have things going on at home that might slow your progress. As you complete your list of actions, tick them off one by one to show what progress you have made. Reward yourself for getting the actions completed.
Employers have a duty of care of all employees so will be working hard to make sure that staff can return to work safely and in a timely manner. If you have any concerns, raise them. If you have ideas that will help, raise them. Be prepared to take one day at a time and readjust processes and procedures as employees and employers learn to navigate life after lockdown.
If you would like to talk through your concerns and would like help in planning for your return to work, get in touch here