How to prepare for returning to work

Many of us will have been working from home for nearly 18 months or maybe even been on furlough during this time and a return to ‘our place of work’ may have left us with concerns and perhaps anxiety about the change.

Some of us will be excited about seeing people again and getting back to ‘normal working’ but for others there may be a fear of leaving the house, mixing with people or a nervousness about our ability to do our job after months of not working.

However you are feeling about going back to work, it will still be a big change after all this time, so here are some things to think about:

Speak to your manager – if you are worried, have a conversation with your manager, talk about how you are feeling and ask questions about your concerns, this will help you to feel more confident about returning and what is expected of you.

Connect with colleagues – staying in touch with others is so important for our wellbeing and often others will be feeling the same.  Reach out to your colleagues and talk through how you are feeling – this could help you both to feel less anxious.

Be prepared that work will be different – the workplace may feel different from how you remember – recognise there will be changes and things will be different but these are to ensure your safety and that these will soon become normal.

Prepare the day before – take some time the day before to plan for your return, think about everything you need, what you are going to wear, check travel arrangements (these may be different!) so that on the day you are ready and there is one less thing to worry about.

Keep up the good habits – if you have built up good habits during lockdown, try to continue with these and build them into your daily routine.  Looking after our physical health is so important and will help with our mental wellbeing.

Be kind – these are changing times for us all and everyone will be having their own pressure and stresses, so be kind to others and help colleagues wherever you can.

Reach out for help – if you feel you need further help or support, reach out to an EAP provider through your organisation, speak to your GP or get in touch with organisations such as Mind or the Samaritans.

Celebrate and reflect – at the end of your first day or week, celebrate, especially if you were feeling particularly nervous.  Also reflect on how you felt, how you managed your worries and how you are feeling now.  By reflecting on how we get through difficult situations can help us when we face such situations again.

Remember it is normal to feel anxious about returning to work, even if you are looking forward to seeing people and getting back to ‘normal’ any changes to our routines can make us feel nervous, but rest assured these feelings will reduce as you start to get into a new routine.

Gemma Carter-Morris – Head of Wellbeing – Next Steps Outplacement

Gemma is a qualified wellbeing coach with over 15 years experience gained primarily within Higher Education.  Gemma uses her coaching and wellbeing experience to support individuals through the outplacement process with a particular focus on them as an individual.

01952 212429

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