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How Companies Can Help Employees Cope With Anxiety During The ‘Back To Office’ Transition

If needed, reach out and seek help from a mental health professional.

As employees are returning to the office after COVID WFH for months, here are some ways companies can help them cope with anxiety and burnout during the shift.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : October 29, 2021 8:22 PM IST

With the world reopening and the rush of emotions that one may feel bombarded with, it could be helpful to check in with yourself with your feelings and regulate your emotions. While some people may be excited to get back to work, some may find it difficult to adapt to changing realities at a swift pace especially when they feel like they have only just gotten comfortable with the virtual setup. Several factors may be preventing one from wanting to return to work. One may be citing fear of getting sick as their major worry. For others, fear of using public transportation and having no reliable solutions for childcare or homeschooling could be bothersome.

This would be a good time to remind the employees of how difficult it was to transition from the real world to the virtual where everything was uncertain, new, and ambiguous, and how they did it! They got through one of the most harrowing times and it took patience, yes, but you collectively did it!

Getting back out to the real world

As we're expected to get used to something we have all experienced before (the real world), something we're accustomed to, just with some additional precautionary measures, and we could use some patience this time around too!

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Along with patience, we also developed some other skills that helped us get through and we could safely say they were lessons learned for life. Bouts of Creativity to pangs of productivity, we saw it all.

Some effective tools to carry handy in these changing times would be to remind them of their comfort zones and whatever helped them cope. It could be the song that helped them get through a tough day, a breathing exercise that helped them in grounding, or a journal entry before sleeping that helped them ease out. More often, we find it hard to break free from the loop of fears, the overwhelm that comes with novelty, forgetting to realise that the tools of comfort lie within, and sometimes tweaking the same techniques relevant to current times could be beneficial.

Feeling anxious about returning to the office? This video may be helpful for you -

Managing Anxieties And Burnout During The 'Back To Office' Transition

Some ways in which companies can help employees manage anxieties and burnout with transitioning could be to first and foremost- treat with compassion and kindness because their mental health and well-being matters too.

Manage and find effective ways to channelise energies: Mismanaged anxiety can induce further trouble and have a spillover effect on other avenues of work. We're all unique people with unique needs. Talking to employees and finding what they need to have an effective transition, could be a good starting point to ease them in. One may not be able to accommodate everyone's needs, but one can explore options and possibilities, and that by itself may be comforting for many.

Working around getting aware of expectations: While the brain may seek familiarity around this time, a whole lot of newness to the working spaces, desks, people, safety protocols may require additional mental energy feeding into irritation and frustration. What can be used at this time is to have creative ways to familiarise employees with the spaces and roles instead of expecting them to meet targets and load them with work the first day itself!

Build a sense of camaraderie with employees: Trying to lighten up conversations and mishaps of the virtual world, using this opportunity to hear each other's struggles and find a space to share one's own experiences too could add some humour to the environment.

Practice mindfulnessto observe your fast pacing worries and thoughts. You may find yourself a lot more at ease and resilient to manage challenges that come your way.

Importantly, take active steps to reach out and seek help from a mental health professional for yourself and your colleagues alike.

As we all know, one can't pour from an empty cup- Your mental health matters too!

The article is contributed by Ambika Srikrishnan, Counseling Psychologist, Medall Mind.

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