returning to work

Millions are returning to the physical workplace after extended periods of time working from home. While the world is still dealing with the virus and its knock on effects, many people are now focused on what it will be like to get back to the workplace. There are many issues to be considered, that encompass work, family and mental health needs. Below we offer some tips to return to work successfully.

Tips For Employers:

  1. Prepare your Team – what each person needs will depend on the individual. Talk to your people, understand their individual concerns. Help them feel safe and comfortable Negotiate and try to meet their emotional and physical needs. Communicate your expectations clearly.
returning to work
Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels
  1. Show Appreciation – Showing appreciation is still one of the most important things employers can do. People work best when they are acknowledged and appreciated.
  1. Be Flexible – Each workplace will have different needs, but where you can, stay open to new ideas and be willing to experiment until you find what works for your team members and your organization.
  1. Offer Employee Counseling – Whether they are having difficulty returning back to work or not, making counseling available lets your employees know you care about their wellbeing.
  1. Be Available – Especially at the start. It will be normal for staff to have concerns and questions. These can usually be resolved quickly if you are available to reassure the person and address them.
  1. Be Honest – You may not have the answers to everything, but be upfront about what information you know and don´t know. Demonstrating your transparency will go a long way to building trust with your team members, and minimizing any anxiety they may have.
  1. Consider New Workers – Some staff may never have actually been on site at the workplace before, or never met their colleagues in person. They may need some time to adapt to a new rhythm and to learn the culture of the organization.
  1. Have Patience – Employees will need to re-adjust. Don´t assume everything will go back to how it was before – the workplace may look and feel different. Be patient as people become comfortable with any new changes.

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Tips For Employees:

  1. Take Care of Family – Ensuring that your children or other family members are safe and taken care of during working hours is essential to success in the workplace.
  1. Re-Evaluate Your Skills – Are there any skills that need refreshing? Or new ones to be learned? This might be the right time to do so.
  1. Keep the Balance – Returning to work may be accompanied with higher stress & anxiety. Make sure to take a little time during the day to de-stress. Move, stretch, walk up the stairs, or talk with positive co-workers.
  1. Mental Health And Resilience Training – Learn about common signs of mental distress, develop tools to prevent them from arising, and know how to respond if they do. Your skills in this area can help you to manage stress, and also know how to assist someone else in distress.

The road back to normal after COVID might be tricky but there are things you can do to make it a more pleasant experience. Think things through, be positive and take the time to prepare for your return to work.

Author: Peter Diaz

Peter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organizations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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