It’s safe to say that returning to work is never as straight forward as we quite imagine. If we go away on holiday or enjoy a long weekend, the thought of returning to work may bring some feelings of anxiety or worry. The past year has not exactly been a holiday but it has certainly accustomed us to a certain way of living. With the majority of us experiencing a long time away from our work environments, it’s no surprise to see results from a recent survey by Oak Engage, which showed that 45% of participants are experiencing return to work anxiety.
Whether your employees are excited about returning to work or not, things will no doubt be a lot different when measures are eventually lifted.
Finding your feet
Getting back in the swing of things is tough, especially when remote working has played such a significant role over the past year. Many of us have been accustomed to working in our own homes, speaking to colleagues via a computer screen and making tea with our own kettle. Our day to day routine is based around a familiar setting that we may have more control over and overall may feel more comfortable in.
The return to work will not only bring a sharp change in our surroundings, but also in how we interact with others. COVID-19 has no doubt affected people on a number of different levels, causing various degrees of worry and uncertainty about what the future may hold. With this in mind, returning to an active and busy work environment can create feelings of panic which can lead to more long term concerns affecting employee wellbeing and productivity.
It is important that the transition phase is handled with care.
The elephant in the room
Acknowledging what obstacles lie ahead and working with an open mind can bring some much needed insight into how to make the transition process better for everyone. Remember, everyone is different. The past year has affected many of us in different ways – it is important to consider the bigger picture and ensure there are available options to ease the pressure.
Consider the following options when thinking about your return to work strategy:
- Hybrid Working – Technology has helped a great deal in how many employees have continued their work remotely throughout the pandemic. A hybrid working model can allow remote work and the regular environment to work hand in hand. Blending the two together and giving employees the option of which one they would prefer or staggering time between the two can gently ease them back whilst seeing where personal preferences lie.
- Opening up communication – Emotions will be running high and an active communication channel can be a much needed support line for those who are struggling. Advising employees about where they can go for support shows consideration and respect towards their wellbeing. It will also give you valuable insight into where things might need addressing.
- Quieter work spaces – A busy work environment has not been normal for many people. The idea of returning to a loud, chaotic space can leave employees feeling exposed, uncomfortable and can lead to trouble with focus and carrying out work efficiently. Ensuring there are calmer spaces available with fewer people can help with transitioning back to a regular scenario.
- Feedback and insights – Opening up a free space where employees can give their opinions on where their concerns lie can allow you to analyse and adapt your transition process accordingly. Surveys and one to ones can give you valuable insight that can drive future decisions whilst showing you are taking everyone’s opinions and concerns into consideration. Showing that employers are listening shows a tremendous amount of support.
The tools needed to succeed
If you are concerned about the transitioning process and worry that you may not have the tools to support your staff, you can explore Dashup to know more about anonymous reporting and communication. Dashup works to open up a new reporting route for your employees whether it’s reporting incidents or worries and concerns. You can find out more here: