After spending the last three months working from home, most of us are getting ready to go back to work after COVID-19. But as much as we are all tired of the lockdown, many are worried and anxious about going back to taking public transport and being inside the office with other people.
The same way we had to adjust to self-isolation, we must now prepare to get used to the new-normal office routine. So we gathered some useful tips to help you adjust, once again, and make your return to work the less stressful as possible.
It is normal to feel anxious
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Times of change are always tricky, so it is reasonable to feel anxious about it. Adding to that, the new worries about hygiene, or better said, the lack of it, and the fear of contagion cause even more anxiety. Give yourself time to adjust to the new normal and be realistic. That is to say; don’t expect to be immediately able to work at the same pace you used to before coronavirus.
Put a hand sanitizer spray in your bag to clean your computer, desk etc. We’re sure your office will supply disinfectant in the common areas, but having your spray at hand will help you feel -and be- safer.
What is the new normal?
Washing hands several times a day and keeping distance have become the new normal. But that’s not all. Sneezing into your elbow if you don’t have a tissue is the new etiquette. And staying home to avoid people if you feel slightly ill is common sense. Additionally, we highly recommend you take your shoes off as soon as you arrive home. Also, change into clean clothes to avoid bringing the virus into your house. It is important to keep these basic hygiene practices even if lockdown is over, to prevent a second wave of the virus.
Consider these extra-careful practices as a life change for the long run. It doesn’t hurt to avoid germs, even after a COVID vaccine is available.
Find a quiet spot to work if you need some time alone.
Socializing and catching up
After working remotely for long, you’ll probably be happy to meet your co-workers, or at least, some of them again. Funnily enough, many people feel now more connected to their colleagues than before. This happened because the online platforms helped them start sharing more of themselves. So now that you’re back to work, there will surely be a lot of chatting and catching up to be done. Nice, but you might get a bit nervous because you’re not used anymore to working with noise and people around. If you need some time alone, take your laptop and find a quiet spot in the cafeteria or lounge.
If you want to catch up with them during lunchtime or happy hour, choose restaurants and coffee places with open spaces like a garden or terrace.
Maintain some of the new routines from lockdown
Although self-isolation was hard at the beginning, most people found the slower pace had positive effects in their lives. Many started new hobbies and exercising more. Try maintaining these new activities even once you’re back to work, for a smoother transition. Working from home helped people find a better work-life balance. Keep this up.
If your workplace doesn’t allow flexible hours, exercise in the morning, before going to the office. This way you won’t skip the gym “only today because I still have work to do”.
Last but not least
If you’re feeling too anxious or stressed about going back to the office, try starting your day with positive thoughts. As soon as you wake up, focus on all you have to be thankful in your life; your health, family, friends, work. In your free time, watch feel-good movies and read books with constructive and optimistic messages. If nothing of this helps, consider talking to someone, therapy is a good thing that must be destigmatised.
And don’t forget to keep taking care of your immune system.