Easing Yourself Into The New Normal
Whatever the measures you have followed during the Covid-19 pandemic – self isolation, lockdown or quarantine – the government are now slowly allowing people to return to work. As you re-enter your workplace, you might find that the transition is a difficult one so if you are returning to the workplace after a long absence over the next few weeks, we recommend the following:
1. Find Out What To Expect
Speak to your manager about what to expect upon your return to work. Think of practical barriers such as computer passwords that might have expired, or door codes that are no longer valid. If you are asked to maintain physical distancing or wear PPE, are procedures in place or is PPE provided to ensure you and your colleagues are fully protected? Check in with your manager for an update before you return to the office.
2. Finalise Arrangements
Going back to the workplace might mean that the routine and systems that you and your family have become used to over the lockdown period may shift. If you’re expected to return to work but have children whose schools are still closed, who will watch them? If you are a caregiver for an older relative, who will look after them? If someone is at high-risk within your home, do you have a routine at the end of the day to minimise their exposure such as washing hands immediately? Have these conversations ahead of time to help make sure that expectations for you, your partner and your family are clear.
3. Plan Your Return
It is always a good idea to check in with your manager on what the priorities are, even if you are working from home at the moment. Are there projects that you hit ‘pause’ on at the start of lockdown that will now need to be ‘unpaused’? If you are a manager, do not forget that you need to be having these conversations with your team, so that they are aware what the priorities and expectations are upon return. You might want to schedule check-in meetings prior to and soon after you return to the workplace.
4. Be Kind To Yourself
Remember, just as it was an adjustment for you not to go to work, it might be an even bigger adjustment to return to work as you might be operating under new management, with new health and safety guidelines in place. It is ok if you are slow to start at your job, as long as you are doing safely. Be mindful about those around you who might also be struggling. Before long, you will all settle into a routine that will feel natural in the new ‘normal’ workplace.