Planning to go back to office? Three tips to make it easier for you.

Sunaina’s office is opening up and she has to join coming Monday. She is freaking out, considering the dangers of contracting the virus herself and potentially passing it to her family. That too in a multi-generational household with two kids and two senior citizens in their seventies.

Sunaina is not alone. There are many in the same boat as her.

When I talked to my cousin a couple of days back, she had been going to office for more than a month. I was shocked initially, then scared and finally concerned.

I started asking these questions of professionals in my network:

Have you started going to office?

What’s your new normal?

And how are you coping?

If work from home was not enough, now there is back to office stress. Because it’s business as usual. And it’s back to office with the new normal. It’s not unusual to feel stressed out. Even if you were otherwise a cool and happy-go-lucky person.

Here is what Sunaina and anyone everyone else who is going back to office should do to help each other.

KEEP COMMUNICATION CHANNELS OPEN

The key here is to help each other by communicating honestly. If you feel a coworker is more stressed out than normal, talk to them. If you feel that you are unable to bring your own stress levels down, talk to your colleagues. This is not the time to think of hierarchy; everyone is in it together. Of course, those in managerial positions have greater responsibility of keeping communication channels between their team members open. They would need to convince team members through actions that they are willing to listen to their problems.

Lots of time has been lost in working or not working from home during the lockdown. But ignoring the back to office stress levels would further reduce productive time.

Stress has a way of showing up in the form of different physical ailments like fatigue, headache, lower or higher blood pressure levels, panic attacks, etc. So, it makes sense to continue talking to each other and keeping stress levels down.

TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE

Yes, it’s time for companies to introduce, or re-introduce, team building exercises. It will help the employee settle back in the office and also open the communication channels that had been blocked due to the pandemic. Zoom or Slack coffee time outs need to give way to real conversations again.

Months of lockdown has changed everyone’s to approach towards life and work in general. Picking up from where they left is just not possible. Someone might have lost a family member or suffered the COVID-19 infection themselves or lived all alone without any family member. These are life changing events that can make it difficult to get back to normal. That too when we are not even sure what the new normal is.

Participating in team building exercises will allow team members to start building new relationships and strengthening the old ones.

And frankly speaking, you don’t even need to wait for the management to come up with the idea. If 4 or 5 of you feel that you need some team building exercises to get back in groove, reach out to your HR for approval. Let me assure you, they will be more than happy to help, seeing that you yourself are taking the initiative to get back to working together.

STRESS MANAGEMENT

I am talking about this as my last point because if you implement the above two, there will be lesser need of stress management. Stress management is required if you do not get support from those around you. Take care to be always in touch with your support systems, which could be your family, friends, colleagues or anyone else you trust.

Take breaks from work and don’t expect to get back to pre-pandemic productivity levels immediately.

Do exercises, yoga, running or walking, whatever works for you, but invest some time in yourself.

Over to you

Are you planning to go back to office? Are you scared? Or prepared to face the new normal?

If you have been already going to office during the pandemic, share with us how you are keeping yourself healthy, both mentally and physically.

Originally published at http://www.itechcreations.in.