Coping with anxiety about returning to an office environment

As we remain hopeful that the third lockdown should be the final Covid-19 restriction of this extremity, workplaces are preparing for employees to return to the office following the easing of lockdown restrictions. Employees currently on furlough and those working from home since the initial lockdown announcement in March 2020 may be nervous about transitioning to an office environment and reuniting with staff. As working life quickly blends into home life, separating the two is likely to be challenging as the reopening of schools remains to be seen, drastically impacting the working life of parents.

In addition to employee groups impartial about returning to an office environment, a fraction may be anticipating the days until they return to the office, with the remaining feeling anxious about changing settings. As the unprecedented events surrounding the pandemic rocks the boat of businesses across the globe, the working lives of employees are also experiencing uncertainty by the day. 

Facing job uncertainty due to impact of Covid-19 

As core industries are being forced to halt trading, employers have been left with no choice but to furlough staff. As even global players have reported record losses, feeling the brunt of the adverse economic effects posed by the coronavirus pandemic, many SMEs across the country struggle on the breadline, battling against the prospect of entering a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation, a voluntary company liquidation route. 

As government support provides a lifeline to viable businesses, job uncertainty is likely to create anxiety in the lives of employees as the economy experiences unprecedented trading conditions. As many businesses close shop in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in substantial job losses, fighting the possibility of returning to no job is inevitably likely to make employees nervous and apprehensive.

Maintaining a strong rapport with your employer can help encourage transparency and eliminate feelings of employment uncertainty. As the economic circumstances posed by Covid-19 threatens the viability of businesses across the country, experiencing such emotions are natural. By remaining in contact with colleagues, you can feel united and supported. 

Working from home – Is it a long-term solution?

If working from home works in your favour by helping you direct your focus towards your mental health and better balance work and home life, making the switch back to office working may trigger stress, upset and nerves. If working from the safety of your home is demonstrating greater productivity and personal satisfaction, others may likely be feeling a similar way. Sharing your thoughts on work-life flexibility with your employer and colleagues may encourage a shift in attitude and even allow your employer to arrive at a compromise if it is reasonable for you to work from home. 

If flexible working is an effective way to promote your mental health, you can submit a request for flexible working formally or informally, depending on your statutory entitlement. If you submit a request for flexible working, this shows that you are serious about integrating flexibility into your working life. Check if your employer has a flexible working scheme already in place as this could speed up the process and help your request to be dealt with more efficiently. 

If you are struggling to prepare for your return to office life, or even working life if you are on furlough, you can seek anxiety aids and recovery services to help with the transition. Befriending colleagues in the same position can help spark a conversation you can relate to, functioning as a coping mechanism. While acting alone can increase anxiety, coming to terms with the root of your nervousness can help you act proactively and pragmatically. 

How can No Panic help?

No Panic specialises in self-help recovery and our services aim to provide people with the skills they need to manage their condition and work towards recovery.

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