Strategies for transitioning back into the workplace after coronavirus

As COVID-related restrictions ease in several states of Australia, aspects of life are returning to normal and work is no exception, with many businesses contemplating the re-opening of workplaces.

These tips will help you manage your mental health as you transition back into the physical workplace.

Prioritise self-care by maintaining positive habits

While lockdowns are very difficult in most respects, there may have been some silver linings. With more spare time, many of us picked up new hobbies or reignited old passions. It could be painting, reading, cooking, meditating, even your newfound love for jigsaw puzzles. It’s still important to prioritise self-care, so continue the things that put you in a good headspace.

Even if you’re likely to be shorter on time, don’t abandon these behaviours. Even if it’s something as simple as still taking the morning walk around the block that is now part of your routine. There are practical tools available too. HeadGear is a free app, available on the App Store and Google Play, that lets you complete activity-based challenges to build mental fitness.

This pandemic has helped many people put the important things into perspective, so try not to lose that as you ease back into a more familiar version of life.

Manage your information intake

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve become accustomed to updates from the media on virtually everything on a regular basis. Make sure you’re getting your information from reliable sources and remember that advice from regulators and government is designed to enable safe ways of working.

When it comes to your own workplace, you will likely have plenty of questions. It may be frustrating but try to embrace the information provided by your employer, rather than trying to guess or predict what will happen down the track.

This will help you avoid unnecessary stress about things you can’t control.

Understand what constitutes a mentally healthy workplace

With so many people experiencing altered work arrangements and locations of late, the grey area between professional and personal has been blurred like never before. While unemployment has been an unfortunate by-product of COVID-19, plenty of businesses were - and continue to be - super busy in response to the pandemic, and some employees have been working longer hours than normal.

Everyone has a role to play in helping create to a mentally healthy workplace. With so much change to our ways of working, this period of transition is the ideal time to make sure you’re across workplace mental health risk factors, in order to avoid them.

By doing so, you can reduce the likelihood of burnout and increase job satisfaction.

Celebrate the opportunity to reconnect

Those who have been working from home may have found unexpected perks of the situation, such as no commuting and additional spare time, but we’ve also lost a lot. This includes things most of us probably took for granted, such as morning coffee runs with colleagues or staff drinks (that aren’t online) at the end of a long week. Even just being able to talk to a co-worker to ask a quick question or have a chat has been missed.

So, when the time does come to return to the office or the worksite, enjoy the little things that have been absent over the last three months. Take the time to have that one-on-one conversation with a colleague. Visit your regular café, just like you used to.

They might seem small, but these actions can help with establishing some normality back into your routine.

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