Our working lives have undertaken a huge change during the coronavirus pandemic with many of us adjusting to a “new normal”. As lockdown eases across the UK, our working lives will change once again, with new working spaces, social distancing and adjustments in our everyday lives. Across the UK, many workers are set to return to work, which for some may cause anxiety and unrest. Here we share some of the ways you can help manage back-to-work anxiety.
Practical measures for wellbeing
All organisations are advised to make workspaces COVID safe, with many erecting screens between workstations, conducting regular deep cleans and adding strategic hand sanitising stations.
Employers should be taking practical measures alongside the restructuring of employee work practices and facilities, including the layout of collaboration and relaxation areas. Examples include separating seating, opening windows, staggering arrival and departure times and only allowing lifts to be used for those who need additional assistance.
It’s good to talk
One of the easiest ways to relieve COVID-19 workplace anxiety is possibly one of the most overlooked, just talk. Raise any concerns with team leaders or colleagues, as many of them are likely feeling the same way too. And for managers let your team know that ‘it’s okay to not be okay’.
Build team spirit
Employers should check-in regularly with staff and offer ways to replicate social interaction digitally. Host a weekly quiz or plan in a quick zoom simply just to catch up.
Also, re-share your organisation’s vision with your team and remind them of their role and importance in achieving corporate goals. Feeling like you have a clear purpose within a close-knit team is a great antidote for workplace anxiety.
With many employees still working from home, it’s important to ensure staff are happy with their work-life balance. Ensure staff have got the right technology to work efficiently and effectively and a designated workspace set up. That way, you can easily close away your “temporary” office once the work day is over.
Remember, not to put too much pressure on yourself, try and set aside some time to help unwind, adjusting to the new normal is difficult for many.
Healthy workplaces – bricks and clicks
Lastly, employers can help diffuse staff anxiety by guiding them towards improved diets and exercise options. We don’t mean simply losing lockdown weight gain! Good nutrition, fresh air and the right amount of exercise play a key role in creating engaged, energised and positive workforces.
And remember whilst it might seem daunting returning to work, there’s several things to look forward to:
- Having a clear distinction between work and home
- A chance to catch up with colleagues in a safe manner
- A designated work space, with all the correct equipment
If you need any additional support on how to combat your anxiety, there’s a number of charities which offer support.