Preparing to Return to the Workplace After Self-Isolation Ends
Published by: LifeWorks,
Whatever the measures you’ve followed during the COVID-19 pandemic, eventually government guidelines will allow us to return to our workplaces. If you’re returning to the workplace after a long absence due to COVID-19, there are a few key things you can do to protect your mental and physical health while re-establishing normalized routines:
Plan your return with your manager. It’s always a good idea to check in with your manager on what the priorities are, even if you’ve been doing this while working from home. Are there projects that you hit “pause” on at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that will “un-pause” when you’re back? You might look at your calendar and schedule check-in meetings with your colleagues once you return to the office.
Find out what to expect of your workspace when you return. Ask your manager what to expect upon your return. Think of practical barriers such as computer passwords that might have expired, or door or parking codes that are no longer valid. If your area has asked you to maintain physical distancing at your workplace, will your physical space or schedule change to reflect this?
Finalize your arrangements for personal and family needs. Going back to the workplace might mean that the routine and systems that you and your family have become used to during the pandemic may shift.
If you have children and schools are still closed, who will watch them? If someone at home is at high-risk for COVID-19, do you have a routine for coming home at the end of the day that minimizes their exposure, such as washing your hands immediately?
Having these conversations ahead of time will help make sure that expectations for you and your family are clear, and can help manage some of the ‘unknowns’ that trigger fear or other emotional responses.
Be kind to yourself and others. Remember that, just as it was an adjustment for you not to go to the workplace, it might be an adjustment to return to the workplace. You might be operating under new management, with new health and safety guidelines in place. Remember that it’s OK if you’re slow to start at your job, as long as you’re doing so safely. Be mindful about those around you who might also be struggling. Before long, you’ll all settle into a routine that will feel natural.
With content from Charlotte Bailey