Going Back to the Office or Staying Home to Work
The pandemic changed the way we work. During lockdown, we learned to work from home and for the most part, we adapted to the new environment. Now that vaccines have made it safe for us to return to the workplace, some people are chomping at the bit to head back to the office while some are settled and happy working from home.
Why do some people want to stay home? Well, part of that reason is common sense: it’s convenient! But the reasons go a bit deeper than no commute or extra sleep. People have gotten into routines working at home the same way they did working at an office. A sense of independence has developed for some. So returning to an office may be just as destabilizing as the transition to home.
There are also some fears still going around about coronavirus, social unrest, and safety concerns. These past few years have rattled people and understandably some folks may be less willing to fully return to public life in general.
Everyone is different
Alyssa Ege runs her own marketing business while raising a young son with her husband, who works at an office. She has found that working from home is perfect for her business. With a bit of hired help from a nanny to look after her son, she has the time and business model that thrives in a work-from-home environment.
During an interview on the Breakdown with Dr. B Podcast, she told us, “When I started my business I actually had the intention of being a remote company because I knew I could find such amazing talent from anywhere in the world.”
Her case illustrates another factor in returning to work: the kind of work. What activities are being performed? Where are employees based? Some jobs benefit from workers collaborating face to face, coordinating, and putting things into action immediately in person. Others benefit from digital communication and organization with employees across the country and in some cases the world.
Others can’t wait to return to the office. Humans like eye contact, being present and being around people instead of Zoom meetings. Everyone is different.
Maria, a human resources director, is certain that a return to the workplace is beneficial.
“I’m very sociable with the staff, so I can help them when they have problems or concerns,” she explained.
Maria found the physical separation between office and home to be inconvenient for focusing on specific obligations, and the constant distractions at home were also an impediment.
“I honestly do believe it’s better to have a working environment than doing it at home.”
How to make returning to the office a little less stressful.
If a return to the workplace is in your near future, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself. First - go to work.
Not to start on your first day back, but just to drive to the area and get used to the time and the commute. Doing this can familiarize your brain with the sights and sounds of going to work, which then makes the actual process of going less of a shock to the system.
Focus on things you can control. Start waking up on time, developing a morning routine, and organizing your life for the new schedule. This can empower you to feel proactive about making this far easier. You can even have a conversation with your employer/coworkers about Covid safety protocols and other things that may be of concern.
Finally, let go of things you can’t control. Everyone is going through a tough transition and expending your mind’s energy on these things will always make things worse.
As far as employers, there is a lot they can do to make their employees feel comfortable during their return to the office.
But the bottom line is communication. Employers have to talk to employees about their concerns and stay flexible in their accommodations. Maybe it’s possible to offer reduced office hours? Some businesses take the hybrid approach allowing for office days and work-from-home days.
At the office, keep the atmosphere positive and when possible get a routine in place. Be vocal about how valuable the employees are and try to build a team mindset.
These are challenging times for everyone but business must carry on. In some cases, employers can be more accommodating than others, but for the mental wellness and safety of employees, it’s always best to remain sensitive to the needs of workers.
Bregman Medical Group has decades of experience treating an array of disorders and we offer psychiatry and therapy services straight to your device! Simply schedule an appointment online at www.bregmanmd.com or call 786-321-4909.