It’s been a challenging two years, as the pandemic mandated us to work from home and some of us struggled to adjust. With COVID-19 infections declining and the vaccination rate slowly increasing, we’re once again changing our routines to accommodate working in the office combined with working remotely. If that fills you with dread and anxiety, you’re not alone.

Here are five tips to help you to navigate your way to find new ways of work:

1.Focus on the positives  | Working from home meant that we missed out on coffee with co-workers, feeling part of a team, being able to ask quick questions and having meaningful face-to-face chats.  Remembering these benefits will help you look forward, rather than backwards.

2.New beginnings  | You’ve probably changed a lot over the past while, and your old workspace may represent the old you. Start afresh in your workspace at the office by cleaning out your drawers, rearranging your stationery and computer, adding a plant or new photos of your loved ones to make your work environment comfortable and inviting. If you share a hot-desk with your colleagues, make sure to keep it clean and neat.

3.Self-care  | Working from home may have got you into a few bad habits such as late nights and late mornings, maybe even the occasional afternoon nap. Prepare for the office by creating a more disciplined sleep schedule and switching off digital devices before you go to bed so that you’re fresh and ready to take on your work day and the commute.

4.Patience  | Many of us will be more anxious than before COVID-19. It’s easier to hide behind a screen than have face-to-face conversions, or worse, conflict. Be kind and gentle with your colleagues and yourself. It takes a while to get used to having people around you, especially for introverts.

5.Support  | Take small steps to rebuild your confidence and that of your co-workers. Give each other socially distant “high fives” or punch the air when you’ve completed a task. Make the coffee when you’re under pressure. Remember happiness reduces stress, increases energy, and is contagious.

Still struggling? Please reach out for help – we are here for you! Call Afrocentric 0800 204 555 to speak to a qualified counsellor.

Written by Dr Colin Burns