Quite soon, many office workers are going back to the workplace after a long separation. For those who have taken maternity leave, sabbatical, or a break in between roles, going back to work can sometimes feel daunting. This time around you won’t be the singled out “new person” – everyone will be in the same boat, restarting together.
Overnight, almost everyone had to become remote employees, and Zoom fatigue suddenly became a real symptom. Depending on which province or territory you live in and what your company’s reopening plans are, going back to the office will look different for everyone. When the time comes, here are some tips to help you get prepared for going back to your place of work.
Continue to rely on online tools
One huge positive that came out of the pandemic is that most businesses have been able to adapt to working with fully remote teams and still remain fully productive. Until there is a cure the virus is still a threat and if one employee gets sick, the whole office will most likely have to shut down again to reduce the risk of further spread. Thankfully many businesses can rely on working digitally and offices have adapted their work from home policies to be much more flexible. Online tools and processes have aided workflow and enabled seamless communication across teams which will continue to be integral for the workforce.
Take your sick days!
Long gone are the days when you could overlook a cough or a cold as “nothing” and refuse to take a sick day (even though it wasn’t appropriate then it certainly won’t be tolerated now). It should go without saying that if you feel under the weather in any capacity – stay home!
Office cleaning procedures and personal hygiene
Most offices are revamping their cleaning procedures to ensure strict sanitization and hygiene for employee safety. Although extra cleaning precautions will be in place, it is still every individual’s responsibility to ensure frequent hand washing, wearing a mask, and practice physical distancing (where possible). Use hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes or spray to keep your desk area clean at all times.
Support for employees’ mental health
Although the entire world practiced self-isolation for the last couple of months, everyone is affected differently. HR teams will have to be prepared for back to work anxiety and or stress that employees might be experiencing and provide the necessary support to help with the transition. Similar to staying home if you are physically feeling unwell, companies should reinforce their mental health policies and encourage employees to take a mental health day if they need to, without any negative repercussions.
We’re in it together
Flexibility, honest communication, and trust are needed from employees and employers alike as both parties navigate the unchartered and uncertain territory ahead. Health and safety should be everyone’s top priority and we must all practise patience as these new processes are established. We’re in this together and it’s important to be kind to yourself and others as the world moves forward.