Many employees are anxious about returning to the office after lockdown. Health is a primary concern while considering the prospect of returning. The new workflows and compliance requirements are also increasing anxieties. This article would help you understand the changed office and advise you on the steps to follow for a safe workplace.
We are past COVDI-19 lockdowns. Countries are lifting lockdowns and moving forward we would be fighting coronavirus through social distancing, rapid testing, and quarantines. The good news is that economies are opening up and so are the offices.
So, are you ready to return to the office? Meet your colleagues? Work and have fun?
But the bad news is that the office cannot be the same again. You would enter a changed workplace after lockdown, with many restrictions in place that limit your interactions. COVID-19 is still in the air and we have to be cautious in all our social interactions.
The sudden transition to remote working and now back to the office might be challenging for many. Health anxieties would be primary at this stage. Along with this, the new work environment with compliance requirements might feel strange for a while. Many studies show that 93% of employees fear for their health while considering a return to the office.
Here we address the anxieties you might have over returning to the office and also take you through the best practices to ensure safety.
How to deal with going back to the office after lockdown
Several changes await you. There would be fewer employees in the office, and workstations might be spaced wide apart. You would need to go through thermal screening when you enter your office. Social gatherings and chit-chatting over a coffee may not be possible for a while.
All these restrictions in the office would remain till the scientists discover a vaccine for COVID-19. These tips would help you transition smoothly to the new work environment.
- Commutate safely – If you do not have a private vehicle, commuting safely to work is your first challenge. Many employers are arranging safe transportation for employees. Check with your employer. If the facility is not available, use a face mask and gloves while traveling in public transport. Wash your hands once you reach the office or home.
- Social distancing and hygiene at the office – You have to follow strict social distancing at the office for your safety as well as for the safety of your colleagues. Your employer would adequately space the work cabins. Strictly adhere to the specified distance. Also, avoid social gatherings. If there is any unavoidable event wear your face masks and maintain a distance always. You can use face masks throughout the office hours as this would reduce the risk of infection. Practice hand hygiene as per the guidelines.
- Reconnect with the team – You are meeting your colleagues after a while. Spend time bonding with them as this would bring back your comfort levels and also increase your engagement at work. But remember to maintain social distancing and hygiene practices always.
- Be empathetic- Some of your colleagues might be going through stress due to sick members at home or health worries. Many would have concerns about their job security. Follow empathetic communication always and be considerate about the needs of your co-workers. COVID-19 is tough and tensions run high for everyone.
- Collaboration tools – During the remote working stage you might have got accustomed to meetings and communications using collaboration tools such as videoconferencing or online chats. Continue the same procedures for team meetings within the office, to avoid crowding in small cabins.
- Find time to relax and have fun – Recreate your friend circle through online groups for social interaction in the office. Have fun and share jokes over the online platforms while maintaining the social distance. This would help things return to normal soon and also relieve the stress.
While returning to work you must stick to the safety protocols laid down by the authorities. This will limit the possibilities of infection for you and your colleagues. Resume work as usual and reach out to the management in case you have any concerns. Teamwork and collaboration will help us through this tough situation.