Whether you’ve been on furlough or been working from home throughout the lockdown, most people have experienced a roller coaster of emotions over the last few months.
As things begin to get back to some normality and the lockdown restrictions start to ease, many businesses are looking at bringing their workforce back to the office.
There are lots of positives to returning to work including the social aspects and re-establishing a sense of routine, but it’s also completely normal to have some anxieties around adapting to the new norm as well as wondering how you’ll get back to working a full week in the office again!
We’ve put together an employee’s guide on returning to work after lockdown, we hope it helps!
1. Be Open Minded
No matter what industry you work in, there are likely to be significant changes to both your workplace and the way in which you carry out your job. It might seem overwhelming initially but it’s important to remember that these measures have been put in place to protect you and your colleagues and also that everyone is in this together. Most employers will have clearly communicated the changes to their workforce as well as conducting re-orientation sessions upon your return to work. Going into this with an open mind will help you adapt more quickly to the new norm.
2. Discuss your Concerns
Lockdown posed a variety of challenges for everyone not just physically but mentally. Many people lost loved ones to the virus and are still grieving, others have faced financial worries with cuts to incomes and job losses on the rise. Everyone has had their own difficulties and therefore there isn’t a guidebook or set timeframe in which you should have readjusted back to work and life. If you have concerns it is best to discuss them with your manager or HR to seek reassurance or advice. Even speaking to a colleague about how you are feeling can help to rationalise things, the important thing is that you share your concerns so that the necessary steps can be implemented to alleviate them.
3. Pay Attention to Government Advice
The Government advice is different across different parts of the UK and it’s also regularly changing in line with scientific advice. While your employer is likely to have their finger on the pulse in terms of health and safety measures, it is also sensible to ensure you’re also fully aware of the latest guidance to help protect yourself and others. Maintaining at least a 1 metre distance as well as regularly washing your hands is still best practise so by ensuring you are following these recommendations will help to promote a positive and protective culture amongst your work colleagues.
4. Consider Walking or Cycling
One of the most common anxieties stated by employees about returning to work is around using public transport. Whilst there are lots of recommended measures in place to help keep you safe when using public transport, it’s also worth considering other methods of transport to get to work. Depending on the distance you commute it might be an option to walk or cycle which will give you peace of mind and keep you fit all at once!
5. Practise Self Care
Experiencing significant change can be both physically and mentally tiring so it’s important that you take time out in your evenings and on weekends to practise some self-care. Spend time doing things you enjoy in your free time, keep active and healthy and make sure you are getting enough sleep. All of these things will put you in the best position to deal with getting back to work and also adapting to the new norm.
Although it’s totally normal to feel a little apprehensive about returning to work, it’s important to remember that all employers have a duty of care to their staff and will have carried out a detailed risk assessment ahead of your return to work to ensure everyone’s safety.
Your managers and directors have all been experiencing and adapting to the immense changes you have been faced with so a positive way to look at things is that everyone is in this together.
The best thing you can do is raise any concerns you may have so they can be tackled early on.
Good luck and enjoy!