What makes it so hard to go back to work?

What makes it so hard to go back to work?
What makes it so hard to go back to work

Millions of people furloughed for months are now being recalled to work. Others, who have been working from home throughout the lockdown, are returning to the office. And some jobs have simply disappeared: many people are facing redundancy and will soon have to cope with job hunting. Going back to work after an unprecedented length of time at home is quite a challenge.

Some people may struggle to readapt to the structure of a working week. Others may be anxious that they will find they have lost some of their previous skills. Here, we take a look at some tips to help you reboot your mindset and prepare yourself for returning to the world of work.

1. Create a routine

If you've been furloughed or made redundant, you have probably spent weeks at home with little structure to your day. When preparing to return to work, your first step should be to create a few routines and give yourself time to adapt. Plan a timetable with regular periods for work and recreation. Establish regular times for going to bed and getting up in the morning and stick to them. While at home, many of us have seized the opportunity to spend the day in leisurewear or PJs. Reassess your wardrobe and start wearing your work clothes to get you back into a productive mindset. 

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2. Overcoming anxiety

Naturally, you will have some worries about going back to work. There will be new social distancing routines and other health and safety measures to follow. You may be worried that you won't perform as well as you did before the furlough. However, some people may find their feelings of anxiety and stress are overwhelming. Yoga or meditation will help you to relax. Build some time for exercise into your day, outdoors if possible.

3. Keep in touch with your employer

If you've been furloughed, you might not have had much contact with your manager and colleagues. If you're worried about your job security or your performance, a return to work meeting with your boss should help to alleviate some of your anxieties. While everyone's experiences of being at home are different, It seems that younger employees are the most worried about being vulnerable to redundancy. And if they have been working from home, they will have missed out on opportunities for hands-on training and social networking with more senior colleagues. Make sure that your boss knows about any specific issues or training needs you have.

4. Request a flexible schedule

Perhaps you prefer not to return to your previous workplace full time? Many employees have enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of working from home. Contrary to expectations, productivity has not fallen. Working remotely allows employees to juggle child care and other caring needs; it also saves time and money previously spent on commuting. Perhaps there's no need to go back to all the old ways of working. Request a meeting to discuss a flexible working schedule, when you work in the office for one or two days a week, and from home the rest of the time.

5. Pause for reflection

Furlough has given us a chance to pause and reflect about our careers and how we live our lives. People responded to the challenges posed by lockdown in many, varied ways. Some learnt new skills and tried different hobbies, perhaps surprising themselves. As you return to work, try keeping a diary of your thoughts and feelings; this will help you to identify what parts of your job you enjoy and which you find challenging. You might even feel inspired to take a new direction in your career.

6. Stay positive

As we return to work, we all experience some good days and some not so good. Getting used to the "new normal" can take time. Human beings don't enjoy too much change, especially when they feel they have no control over events, so many people will be feeling anxious.

Brooding on a cycle of negative thoughts can lead to anxiety and depression. To support your emotional wellbeing during a stressful period, Bach Flower Mix 65 will help to banish gloomy thoughts and lift your spirits.

To get your day off to a good start, meditate for a few minutes to focus your thoughts on the positive aspects of going back to work. They could be anything from achieving your target at work to looking forward to coffee with your colleagues.

By replacing negative thoughts with positive images, you will increase your resilience and be able to meet all the challenges of returning to work.

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Marie Pure

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