A great number of people in the UK have been on furlough or transitioned to working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
And, just as we were getting used to spending days in our pyjamas at home with our pets by our side (perks!), businesses will soon be asking staff to return to work or the office thanks to the much-welcomed UK ‘back to normality’ roadmap.
While it was inevitable that we’d be returning to our usual working environments at some point or another, it’s a stressful prospect for many people.
If you’re getting your work clothes ready in anticipation of returning to work and preparing for yet another change, you’re won’t be alone in feeling a bit nervous. In fact, many people have been left mentally drained and full of anxiety by furlough, and are uncertain about how their return will go.
We’re here to give you some top tips on how to get yourself ready for your return to work.
Below, we’ve put together some guidance from Recruitrite on returning to the workplace. Mentally preparing yourself for office life again may seem like a big challenge but there are steps that you can take to get you where you need to be…
Create A Routine
Routines aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But they can be extremely helpful, especially for those prone to feeling overwhelmed or easily stressed.
If you’ve been furloughed since the beginning of the scheme, you may be one of very many people that have fallen into a fairly structureless lifestyle (no judgement here). The thought of getting up at a set time each day, watering and feeding yourself, and then going to work is going to be alien for a while.
Like riding a bike, though, you’ll soon get back into the swing of things. We recommend creating a set routine each day to help bring about structure. Here are some things that you can incorporate:
- Wake up at the same time each morning – and don’t hit the snooze button!
- Exercise where you can to release endorphins (happy chemicals)
- Try and stick to healthy snacks that boost energy
- Create to-do lists and tick off what you’re getting done
- Stick to set times for meals, and eat nutritious food
- Go to bed at the same time each night, so that your body knows when to rest
The term ‘routine’ can in itself can be very off-putting, but it needn’t be. One way to help you get back into the groove of a routine can be to challenge yourself. Don’t think of going back to work as a chore but instead spin it into a challenge.
You can then reward yourself as you see fit – like with a fancy coffee break at your favourite spot for example, or a chilled day at the weekend. A routine is going to do both your mental and physical health wonders as you phase back into a working week.
Monitor Your Mental Health
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, and if you’ve spent a significant period of time away from work, the thought of going back may be a scary one. It’s important to remind yourself that it’s completely okay and normal to feel anxious about returning to work.
The good news is that there are simple exercises that you can do to help manage and monitor anxiety. Moreover, it is the responsibility of employers to provide adequate support and understanding for employees that need it, so don’t be afraid to have that chat.
When returning to work, you can monitor your mental state in different ways. Here are a few ways we recommend:
- Keep a journal, and record your moods regularly
- Try to focus on the positives (work socialising, events, structure, sense of community)
- Talk to your boss if you’re feeling anxious, as there could be a way to reduce stress
- Don’t overwork yourself to begin with!
Every employee has a responsibility to hit goals and produce work, but it’s important to take things slowly. Readjusting to going to work again will probably feel strange for the first couple of weeks. However, with a bit of TLC for your mental health, you’ll be back to your best in no time.
Be sure to take time out at the end of the day, where possible, we advise that you avoid bringing work home where you can. Recognise your daily accomplishments and remember that you’re only human!
Talk To Your Employer
Many of us choose to bottle up how we’re feeling. This will only work in the short-term. It’s inevitable that, at some point, you’ll begin to crack. So, although communicating with your employer about how you’re feeling may make you nervous, it’s actually the right thing to do.
As it will have been a while since you have worked alongside colleagues and your manager, having an honest chat may help alleviate stress. It’s perfectly okay to talk about what’s on your mind and the related emotions that you are experiencing.
Every employee that has been off work and furloughed will obviously have their own experience – but this doesn’t invalidate yours. Perhaps you’ve been living alone and not socialising throughout the pandemic or you’re concerned about losing your job. Whatever worries are occupying your mind, get them on the table and you’ll feel at least a little bit relieved.
Your employer will then be able to put the right sort of support in place for you or offer advice. In addition to this, they’ll gain a better understanding of how their employees are feeling, and this will truly bring about a win-win situation for the workplace in the long run.
Work Flexibly If Possible
If you’re in a position to, working flexibly can help you to phase back into work. As mentioned, many of us have become comfortable working from home and find the home environment far more motivating. If you’re someone that enjoys working in solitude, you may be dreading the return to work for this reason.
Most jobs do require us to work in teams, but advances in technology have made it easier than ever to communicate remotely. As we’ve seen, almost every job has adapted to flexible working – it’s worked! Despite a bit of background noise during team meetings and the occasional WiFi issue, most employees have been able to carry out their roles at home with ease.
After such a revelation, there is more scope to work flexibly and this is something you can (try to) take advantage of. Again, have an honest chat with your employer – and if working from home once or twice a week isn’t doable, staggering your start and finish times might be.
Continue The Good Habits
Many people have found positive ways to occupy themselves throughout lockdown, whether that be exercising more often or doing something creative. And you should definitely aim to carry on with these good habits and hobbies, as they can really help us to feel more calm all-round.
Perhaps schedule in a painting session on a Thursday or go for a jog during your lunch break (ambitious, we know!)? Wherever you can, keep up your good habits and you’ll feel more positive during your working day.
Are You Ready To Get Back To Work?
Has the lockdown left you searching for a new job? Or, are you an employer ready to come back with a boom and seeking staffing solutions for your company?
If so, Recruitrite is one of the leading recruitment agencies in the Newcastle area. Our team would be happy to help jobseekers find new opportunities or assist employers in Newcastle with their staffing needs. Get in touch with our friendly team today to discuss further!