Last week we saw a significant shift in the UK Government Policy from “work from home if you can” to Boris now telling us to “go back to work if you can” and begin trying to “lead more normal lives again”.
For many of us, the idea of returning to work in the office or another on-site location will spark feelings of anxiousness and concern for several reasons but primarily around how to continue to stay safe after what has been many, many months at home.
It’s worth adding here that the government are adhering to this rule only if your company is obeying the correct guidelines and it is safe to do so, but this will still understandably trigger feelings of uncertainty and apprehension as we try to navigate the new normal.
With all of that in mind, we have put together 5 key ways to prepare to return to in-office working, helping make the process as simple, easy and stress-free as possible.
Get mindful and rehearse your return
Mindfulness exercises have seen a huge rise in the last few years and with good reason. The benefits of this practice include stress reduction, improved general health, higher feelings of wellbeing as well as decreased depressive symptoms just to name a few, all of which will be necessary for your healthy return to work.
Zana Busby, a consumer and business psychologist, suggests taking ten minutes every day before your return to mentally rehearse how your Monday to Friday looks in your mind. Include positive outcomes, how you wish to look and feel when you’re back and any previous good memories you had from being at work. This will all help with infusing your brain with positive emotions which will be reflected mentally, upon your return.
This is also a fantastic exercise to carry out on your commute if using public transport to keep your mind busy and help ease any of those concerns you have whilst you’re on your way to work.
Reconnect with your team
After months apart, whether you’ve been having zoom catch-ups, virtual meetings or you've been on furlough it’s important to reconnect collaboratively with your team and welcome everyone back collectively.
As Sandra De Monte, integrative psychotherapist states, we are naturally social beings, therefore, do not cope well with isolation so welcoming everyone back gently and collectively whilst sharing thoughts, experiences and new guidelines that must be adhered to will be powerful in easing not just your experience but the rest of your team.
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind” – Jennifer Dukes Lee
This period for millions of people hasn’t been a holiday. Some people will have been ill themselves or are bereaving family or friends. Providing a work culture which is supportive, inclusive and caring is extremely important. The power of kindness cannot be overstated.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
The shared refrigerator is a common feature of many workplaces, sometimes shared by more than just your office, not to mention communal coffee cups, crockery, and cutlery.
If that gives you the slight hibigibies, bring your own cup, plate, and cutlery to work as well as a small cool bag so you don’t have to use the fridge and expose yourself to another shared surface.
“How do I commute with all this stuff?” I hear you asking.
Well, Australian based brand Bellroy are masters at “Packing in more potential” into your bags.
With their motto “Organize your things. Focus your mind” their products will put you on the road to a slim, lightweight commute, with everything you could possibly need.
This bag has 15L storage, made from durable water-resistant fabric, zip closures and soft nylon webbing straps which mould comfortably against your shoulder for comfortable carrying all day long.
Because now more than ever we want to find better ways to store, protect and carry our things.
We know it’s been the battle cry against COVID-19 but it still stands. Wash your hands every time you touch a communal surface. Keep hand sanitiser in your super organised bag and use when hot water and soap are not available and try not to touch your face. Wipe down surfaces before and after you touch them and use elbows on the dreaded door handle where possible. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask even when you’ve left public transport then do so.
Our friends over at Victoria Eggs are making some beautifully illustrated, handmade masks, you can check them out here. They come in two styles, shaped or pleated and all have a nose wire so no steamed up glasses here! We think they’re just gorgeous.
Returning to the workplace after lockdown will be a big step for many of us. There will be a lot of difference from the last time we were there and saw our colleagues in person. However, if we all take these simple steps to prepare for our return, including safeguarding our personal hygiene we can continue to stay physically and mentally healthy too.