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WELL-BEING AND COMMUNITY

How to Manage Back-to-the-Workplace Anxiety

December 08, 2021

Five ways to ease the stress of this once-familiar routine

 

If the thought of going into the office each day makes you uneasy, you're not alone. Many people have anxiety about returning to the office. Some are concerned about getting COVID-19 and passing it to their unvaccinated children or at-risk family and friends. Others don't want to lose the flexibility they've come to enjoy or start commuting again.

No matter what the stress, it helps to take positive steps before going back to the office. The following tips can help.

5 ways to ease back into the routine

  1. Learn about your employer's safety measures and rules. Be prepared to continue following the recommended measures to prevent spreading the virus, such as washing your hands often, staying home if you're sick, wearing a mask, and social distancing.
  2. Explore your options. Be honest with your manager about your concerns and let them know of personal circumstances that might justify you working from home longer or in a solitary space away from other coworkers.
  3. Plan your new schedule. You might need to go to sleep earlier or allow more time in the morning to get ready and commute to the office. Be patient with yourself as you adjust to the change of pace.
  4. Do a trial-run. Ask your manager if you can go in for a day on your own. Use that time to tidy up your office or simply walk around to readjust.
  5. Take care of your mental health. Anxiety and fear are normal in times of uncertainty and change. Get help if these feelings interfere with daily tasks and routines. The resources listed below are a good place to start.

Resources that can help

Take a mental health screening and seek help if you need it. Many employers are offering resources to help employees take control of anxiety and manage stress. Check if your employer offers an employee assistance program (EAP) that includes mental health resources and counseling. Another excellent, no-cost resource is PsychHub, which offers a variety of online support tools. You can also find a behavioral health professional in your health plan's network using the Find Care tool on empireblue.com.

It's natural to feel anxious when our routines change, even more so after stressful times like the pandemic. By following the tips and using the resources listed here, you may find greater balance and be able to navigate the transition back to the office as smoothly as possible.

Sources:
Beacon Health Options website: Managing anxiety when returning to work after COVID-19 (accessed November 2021): achievesolutions.net.
McKinsey & Company website: Returning to work: Keys to a psychologically safer workplace (accessed September 2021): mckinsey.com.

 

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