It is becoming more and more common for employers to reopen the office. Different companies will take different approaches to the process. For example, some may have a hard date for employees to be back onsite, while others may phase it in by allowing your comfort level to dictate the timetable.
After months of working from home and exercising social distancing, it is natural that there will be some anxieties about the office. Below are some strategies for easing that reentry anxiety:
- Recognize the source: Many have concerns about still possibly getting the virus and giving it to loved ones, while some others find that they have lost the knack of social interaction. Just recognizing it is the first step to finding a workable solution.
- Imagine situations: It may sound weird, but it may help to imagine some likely conversations you will have after not seeing a coworker for more than a year.
- Go in early: Rather than wait for the day everyone is back, it may help just to go in and look around, essentially reacquainting yourself with the workspace before it fills up. While there, clean your personal workspace, perhaps updating it with new photos or a fresh mug.
- New clothes: The days of stretchy pants and stained t-shirts work clothes have sadly come to an end, so freshen the wardrobe with new pieces. This can also help build self-confidence – psychologists say there is a connection between looking good and feeling good.
- Get on a schedule: The work from home commute was great, enabling you to go from bed to kitchen to workspace in a matter of minutes. Those who will need to get up earlier for onsite work can ease the transition by getting back to their pre-pandemic schedule.
- Safety concerns: Employers should maintain a safe workspace where employees follow safety protocols and policies. Depending on the caution exercised by coworkers and workplace rules/requirements, mask wearing may be needed. It is also helpful to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on your desk. Also, establish clear boundaries regarding social distancing.
Worker’s compensation is available
This transition will not be a smooth one for everyone. A worker may fall ill, prompting them to file for unemployment benefits. Perhaps there is an injury while you or coworkers try to get back in the groove. In either case, workers needing benefits should follow all protocols for filing a worker’s compensation claim. Those injured after their return to work, or as they prepare to return, may need additional guidance on how to best handle these and other matters.