While at first thought, a return to normalcy feels like it should reduce some of the mental health challenges caused by the pandemic, many are experiencing heightened anxiety and stress surrounding the return to the office. For some employees, the thought of returning to a long commute is daunting; while for others, the uncertainty around the Delta variant and breakthrough cases is worrying. Use these 5 tips to ensure a smooth return back to the office for your employees:
This was important advice throughout the pandemic too, but nothing breeds more stress and anxiety than a lack of information. It can be tempting to wait until every detail is finalized, but we encourage you to keep employees in the loop as you’re working through the plan for returning to the office. The more advanced notice employees have, the better.
In speaking with our clients, employees are putting significant value on maintaining as much flexibility as possible with returning to work. Perhaps that means you don’t mandate which days employees are in the office, or perhaps work hours remain flexible as long as the employee is getting their work done.
If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that everyone has varying ‘comfort’ levels with post-pandemic related activities. It’s important to keep in mind that you may have some employees that weren’t able to receive the vaccine for medical reasons and so may feel more hesitant about returning to the workplace, or others that remain high risk, even though they are vaccinated. Having each employee’s direct manager or supervisor check in with them about any possible extenuating circumstances can be helpful.
Even as the pandemic eventually winds down, organizations will remain largely responsible for the mental health of their employees. There will always be stressors in life, and those employees that have training and education around handling stress and building resiliency are the ones that will thrive and bring the most value to your organization. Consider booking a webinar of ours to equip your staff with the tools they need to handle stressful situations proactively. “Busting Stress & Boosting Happiness” or “Mental Health Training for Managers” are both great options.
Finally, ensure you’ve taken precautionary measures to help employees feel safe at work. Worksafe BC has an excellent guide that you can refer to, even if you are not BC based.
If you're interested in helping your employees with their mental health, stress, and anxiety, please contact us to learn about how our offerings can support your teams.