Combatting Workplace Anxiety from Remote to Office Work
Now that the world is seemingly returning to a sense of normality, a lot of remote workers are looking at going back into the office.
And whether staff have struggled with your mental health before or not, a lot of employees are feeling more than just nerves. Workplace anxiety is thankfully a subject more companies are talking about and taking initiative within recent years. After COVID-19 hit, more and more people feel anxious about returning to work for a plethora of reasons.
Shedding light on your company’s transition from remote to office working is important for both the employees and the employer. For workers, a working environment that takes into account their mental health is becoming an increasingly important factor for workplace satisfaction. For the employer, good mental health throughout the workforce instantly breeds better productivity across the board.
A survey published by TELUS International shows interesting research into employee mental health during and after the pandemic. Although American, the research shows that 75% of U.S workers have found working difficult because of anxiety sparked by the ongoing COVID-10 outbreak. I think we can safely say that the UK has felt the same effect over the last year and a half.
Other Interesting Survey Results:
- 80% of workers find it hard to switch off after work hours
- 97% say holiday days have been really important for “recharging” while remote working
- 80% of employees would consider quitting their position for a workplace that is more focused on mental health – an increase from statistics before the pandemic.
How to Manage Workplace Anxiety Post-Pandemic?
Every little change will help towards making your employees feel more comfortable coming back into the office, even just acknowledging it might be a difficult transition. However, here’s some areas to focus on:
Check In Before, During & After
If you’re planning a mass migration back into the workplace, plan a one-on-one check-in with every employee beforehand. Ask questions such as the following – how have they found working from home? How are they feeling about coming back in? Is there any changes they’d like to see to make working from an office more appealing to them personally? What perks have they enjoyed whilst working from home?
Implementation of Mental Health Advocacy
If you haven’t already, it’s definitely time to crack down on some mental health expertise in the workplace. Whether you offer professional counselling sessions to employees or train high level staff in one-to-one coaching. Numerous studies have proved that coaching & counselling are powerful business tools to manage stress, mental clarity and workplace anxiety.
Be More Flexible Where Possible
It’s not hard to guess that one of the perks that came with working from home (even during a scary global pandemic), was more flexible work schedules. Working days may have accidentally gotten longer while at home, but creating a more flexible schedule can really reduce stress for staff. Work-related anxiety can be relieved by simple changes to how flexible your work organisation can be.
Why & How to Keep Remote Workers Connected?
Use the time left remote working to your advantage by reconnecting your staff if you haven’t done already. It’s important to remember that although you might have kept constant connect with your employees, each person might not have done the same with their colleagues. This alone might be where an employees work related anxiety is placed, especially for the less social and more introverted amongst us.
Here’s a few ways you can naturally keep remote workers connected before they come together in the office again:
- Group projects that utilise each employees strengths & skills
- Team building activities or energisers throughout the work week
- Virtual after work catch-ups, informal or not
- “Going back to the office” forums that people can throw ideas into freely (possibly anonymously)
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