In March 2020, the world ground to an unprecedented halt when national lockdowns were announced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our generation was met with great uncertainties that we never could have imagined. Covid-19 has created a continuum of personal and social impact, where for some, the lack of normality, loss of routine and inability to meet freely with friends, family and colleagues has been traumatic.
With the easing of lockdown restrictions and the transition to hybrid working comes new challenges for both employees and employers. Employers must now carefully consider implications of having their workforce return to the office whilst employees need to navigate the concerns and anxieties that hybrid working presents.
Is your organisation ready for hybrid working?
A chance to return to the office will undoubtedly be very exciting for some, but the prospect of going back to work and engaging with colleagues may be daunting for others. In fact, a whopping 73% of employees have reported being worried or anxious about returning to the workplace. Is your organisation hybrid-working ready?
It’s important to remember that we all have mental health, and it will fluctuate between good and poor states. Often events that we have no control over impact our mental wellbeing. We all develop different coping strategies in our lifetime and there is no single, one size fits all solution when it comes to maintaining a positive state of mind.
Top 3 tips for a smooth transition to hybrid working
The thought of getting back on public transport, working in proximity with others, and the need to attend social events after work can be stressful and cause feelings of anxiety. We’ve become used to home working and the benefits that brings in terms of work-life balance. The thought of losing that balance, for some, will be disconcerting.
It’s completely normal to feel anxious about changes to routines that we’ve become accustomed to, to be fearful of the unknown, and worried about what new ways of working will look like. Here are our top 5 top tips to help you manage a positive transition back to the workplace. You don’t need to adopt them all in order to gain benefit, just pick the ones that feel right for you.
Tip 1: Identify your concerns
Writing down how you feel and what is making us feel that way is helpful in not only unleashing any negative thoughts and worries but can also help us to understand any triggers. Get a pen and paper and:
- Write down the factors causing you concern
- List the triggers for each factor
- Rank your list of worries in order of concern
- Discuss your concerns with your line manager
- Put an action plan in place
Tip 2: Validate your emotions:
It’s natural to build up thoughts, worries and anxieties in our minds, but when we test these thoughts and feelings, we can often find that they are unfounded. It’s important to test our thoughts and evaluate if they are based on reality or whether there is room to dismiss them. You can do this by:
- Talking about your return to hybrid work concerns with your colleagues, line manager or friends and family
- Being kind to yourself and others. Hybrid working is new for most
- Agreeing the days and times you will be in the office – there may be flexibility to avoid rush hour commutes
- Setting small, manageable goals and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on yourself
- Creating awareness and make time for check-ins with yourself
Tip 3: Take small steps
Allow yourself to take the time you need to adjust to the “new normal”. Your self- confidence and self-esteem might have dropped during lockdown when it comes to getting on public transport, meeting and socialising with new colleagues or being in a public space. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself – rather make a list of the things that you can control and let go of the things you can’t. Finally, make time for self-care routines, you are your number one fan, you need to look after yourself.
We hope you found those tips helpful. If you would like to build your mental fitness or speak to a Coach or Therapist about a struggle you are currently facing, download the InsideOut app here if reading this blog on a mobile device or search for InsideOut 25 on the Google Play and App Store.
We ask employers to consider if the support services you provide for your employees are accessible to all? Do they provide both preventative and early intervention care? Are they available globally, if relevant?
Together we can improve the quality of lives, which in turn is proven to raise productivity and profitability and make our businesses happier and healthier places to work at. There has never been a more opportune time to invest to do so.
InsideOut is an award winning, on-demand digital platform that provides personalised early intervention and preventative mental health care to employees. At InsideOut we believe that all employees have the right to accessible and affordable mental health support, regardless of their role, location or grade. All employees deserve to be happy and healthy. InsideOut’s best-in-class proprietary technology allows employees to retain mental fitness or overcome challenges depending on where they are on the mental health scale.
Call to action:
As you and your organisation navigate the next phase of the pandemic and return to a hybrid working model, the InsideOut team is here to help support you every step of the way. Get in touch to explore how we can support you in building a happier, healthier workforce, or to arrange a free demo here.
Laura Stembridge, CEO and Founder, has a MSc in mental health and is a published academic author. She can be contacted by email at [email protected]