Anxious about returning to the office? Join the club. After over a year of remote work, many of us are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of returning to live work and seeing co-workers on-site rather than on-screen.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Alice Boyes, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of The Anxiety Toolkit, says the idea of getting back to the office might feel surprisingly difficult. Transitions often tend to spike our anxiety; we typically feel anxious about resuming anything we’ve avoided, even if that “avoidance” was externally imposed. Additionally, in the post-pandemic world, personal relationships and boundaries may have shifted. For example, you may be concerned about who is or isn’t vaccinated and who does or doesn’t observe health and safety protocols.
Boyes suggests that we all “be intentional about retaining the best parts of WFH (work from home) and office-life.” Working from home was a vast experiment, and it probably taught you a lot about what helps or harms your productivity. It likely also taught you a great deal about how you communicate most effectively. Holding on to any beneficial habits might prove to be a challenge when your environment changes—but being conscious of them is a first step. Beyond that, she adds, “You’ll need to establish these habits almost from day one, as if they were completely new habits. This is because habits need consistent cues, and the cues you had at home will likely no longer be present, at least not in the same way.”
What concerns do you have about returning to the office, and how are you preparing for this transition? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.