As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to phase out and cities across the U.S. return to a relative sense of normalcy, many people are going back to their physical work locations. Yet, after over a year of social distancing, health concerns and stressful isolation, returning to the office is causing many to experience return-to-work anxiety.
Why People Have Anxiety About Returning to Work After COVID
Return-to-work anxiety is a genuine phenomenon. This stressful experience stems from a variety of different sources, including:
- Safety concerns: During the pandemic, safety and disease prevention were our top concerns. Now, many workers are afraid they’ll be less safe in close quarters with colleagues. You may be concerned that your coworkers are taking different or fewer precautions than you’d like.
- Routine change: Every time you’re forced to change your routine, you will go through an adjustment period. After a year of remote work, going back to the office can feel like a significant routine change. Plus, there may be new protocols in place that you’ll have to learn.
- Social anxiety: After working remotely, your social skills may have eroded a bit. You may not be used to making small talk in person, and you may be anxious about any awkwardness or strain that may occur as you relearn how to relate to people after isolation.
Tips for Returning to Work After COVID-19
If you’re experiencing any anxiety about going back to work after the pandemic, it’s important to have techniques for managing your fears and calming your stress levels. Here are some tips to help you ease back into your routine and relieve any anxiety that you may be experiencing:
- Focus on the positives: For many people, there are advantages to resuming in-person work. Social connection curbs loneliness. Fewer distractions mean better productivity. Plus, there’s a clear distinction between work and home life. Try to remember these benefits.
- Ease into socialization: Start by connecting with individuals or smaller groups before jumping into big group conversations.
- Create a support network: Whether it’s a shared coffee break or lunch together, rebuild your at-work support network. This means spending time with supportive people who get along well with you.
- Establish personal boundaries: Before returning to work, decide what safety precautions will help you feel safe and comfortable. Whether it’s not shaking hands or having a socially distanced workspace, respectfully inform your coworkers about what you need to feel secure.
Receive Help for Anxiety at Taylor Counseling Group
Anxiety can feel overwhelming, and you may find it hard to battle these intense feelings of stress or fear on your own. If you need guidance, Taylor Counseling Group is here for you. We can help you better understand your return-to-work anxiety so that you can overcome it. Reach out to us today to schedule your appointment.