The Anxiety of Going Back to Work After Quarantine
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When the Covid-19 pandemic started, it changed how we did everything, so people had to adapt to the new biosecurity guidelines and government conditions to keep working. After a long time of hybrid working from home, workers are starting to go back to their offices, but some people feel unsure and anxious about going back to work after quarantine.
Going back to your office after quarantine is a moment that many people looked forward to, so you should be happy to go back to the way things were, or at least as close as we can get to that. However, we know how stressful this matter can be and how much anxiety of going back to work after Covid-19 it can produce you, so dive into this page to understand what causes you to feel like that and how to feel less anxious.
How Did the Quarantine Change Our Working Routines?
When the lockdown began, managers and business owners had to find a way to maintain their workflow without decreasing their productivity levels and work quality. Doing that was a complicated task since not many people were used to working from home, so the lockdown forced them to change their routine.
To understand how changing your routine could be affecting you, you need to know how your working conditions changed in the first place, so here are some of the things that companies had to do to keep working during the quarantine:
Working from Home Work Models
Before the lockdown, only freelancers and people with side hustles used to work from home since most people went to specific workplaces and worked under tight schedules. However, when the pandemic started, employees couldn’t go to their offices due to the biosecurity guidelines they had to follow, so every company had to transition to a remote work model or a hybrid work model to continue working.
A remote work model consists of working outside of your office, that place commonly being the employee's house. That allows remote workers to organize their home offices with the items they want and new office ideas. Remote working is highly beneficial to companies since it improves productivity by boosting the employees' well-being.
Adapting to a remote work model isn't the only alternative, though. Working from home model separates your employees into two teams, one that works from home, and another one that works from an onsite office.
Flexible Working Conditions
When managers allowed their employees to work from home, they also had to allow them to work under more flexible working schedules and working conditions. However, that didn’t represent a setback to maintaining their work performance, but it did the opposite by boosting creativity and support among workers.
That creativity boost didn't happen by chance but was a consequence of letting employees work more freely, allowing them to design their workstation and organize their work from home schedule themselves.
Giving your workers the freedom to work that way benefits both the employee and the employer, since it allows the employees to organize their schedule according to their necessities and the employer to take a lot off their plate and profit from the improvement of the employees' productivity.
Virtual Communication Channels
Covid-19 is a disease that quickly spreads through people, so when the lockdown started, we couldn't have direct contact with people to avoid catching the virus. However, communication is essential to have a successful work team, so people couldn't keep working without talking to each other.
The solution to that problem was using different communication programs, online meeting tools, websites, and software that worked as communication channels between employees and employers. Doing that helps business owners to give guidelines and address any doubt or situation employees may have.
Conference calls and business group-chats became more popular and common, making people get used to communicating that way, but lacking face-to-face conversations and discussions. Considering that, we understand that it could be difficult to adapt to talking and communicating with your peers the way you did before.
What Is Making Me Anxious About Going Back to Work?
As we mentioned before, knowing how the quarantine changed your working conditions helps you understand what is making you feel anxious about going back to your office after quarantine. We want you to understand that issue, so here is a list of the things that could make you feel going back to work with anxiety:
Working Under Stricter Working Conditions
After getting used to working from home and seeing all the benefits that remote and hybrid work models can give you, it can seem like a downgrade to go back to your office after quarantine and leave your workstation. However, going out of your comfort zone always produces anxiety, but we have to overcome it to profit from new job opportunities.
This issue gets worse if you already took a liking to your home office, especially if you invested in ergonomic products and decorations to feel more comfortable while working. Regardless of that, other things could make you think badly of going back to work after quarantine, and one of them is returning to work after Covid-19 under strict working conditions and tight working schedules.
Working from home is a comfortable way of making money since you don't have to worry about getting late to your office or having daily arguments with your boss and co-workers. That could be the reason for your anxiety of going back to work after Covid-19: the fear of experiencing uncomfortable situations.
Even before the pandemic, commuting represented a constant fear and stress for people who had to go to their offices every day. The lockdown helped those people to escape from commuting stress, making them work from their houses. However, now that you have to go back to your office, you have to address that problem since commuting stress can significantly worsen your work performance.
That issue happens when going back to work after quarantine because you know that you get uncomfortable in that kind of environment, so you try to avoid those situations. However, you can't stop working because of commuting stress, so you have to do what you can to overcome the anxiety it produces.
Not every concern about going back to work after Covid-19 is related to comfort and productivity since you could be scared of catching the virus. Naturally, you don't want to get sick or spread the virus through your family, so it's understandable that you don't want to go back to work.
This issue can get worse considering that some people don't take the biosecurity guidelines as seriously as they should, so they ignore them and act like the virus didn't exist. You can control how you protect yourself with a graphene antiviral mask, but you can't control how others do, so it's common to be stressed about this matter.
Lack of Ergonomic Products
Whether you work at an office or work from home, sitting for long periods is detrimental to your mental and physical health, producing back pain, neck pain, and mental exhaustion.
Ergonomic items are made to address those situations and improve comfort while working, so if you don’t have them at your new office, you could be scared of suffering from the consequences of it. Feeling physical pain makes your brain less active while working, causing mental exhaustion and making the anxiety and stress worse than before.
How Can I Solve Those Problems?
There are many ways to do it! However, we know it's not easy to find all the answers by yourself, so we want to help you a little bit. Keep in mind that every recommendation given in this article is a general recommendation, so try to adapt them to your life and personal needs. That being said, here are some ways of feeling less anxious about going back to work after quarantine:
Start with a Hybrid Work Model
Transitioning from a remote work model to an onsite work model is a difficult process, and it can take time for you and your employees to adapt to it again, causing stress and anxiety of going back to work after Covid-19. Regardless of that, you can take things slow and start with a hybrid work model instead of going full onsite right away.
Using a hybrid work model allows you to have a team working from home and a team working at the office, and there are many ways of taking advantage of it. You can use it to test how your onsite employees react to going back to their office after quarantine and see what you need to change to make it a safe and productive work environment for all your workers.
You can also use it to test how to apply the biosecurity guidelines and safety measures to avoid spreading the virus through your office. You must make your workplace a safe environment, maybe providing them with a face mask for Covid-19, because, if not, your employees could feel scared and insecure, or going back to work with anxiety.
Search for Ways to Relax While Commuting
Some people think that commuting stress when going back to work after quarantine is something unavoidable, but that couldn't be further from reality. You can do many things to feel calm and relaxed on your way to work, avoiding commuting stress. We want you to feel free of anxiety and commuting stress, so here are some things you can do to avoid it:
- Meditate before going to the office.
- Listen to classical music on your way to work.
- Avoid using your phone or other electronic devices before going to work unless it's necessary.
- Use commuting as a moment to be with yourself and practice mindfulness.
Invest in your Office’s Safety
No one wants to catch the virus, so you have to be extra careful and follow the biosecurity guidelines from top to toe if you want to go back to your office. You must require all your employees to take their graphene face mask vs normal mask and hand sanitizers to the office, but you must invest in a supply of quality masks in case anything happens.
If you can, you could even offer a work stipend for your employees to buy masks and other safety supplies, making them more comfortable about the idea of going back to the office.
Invest in Ergonomic Products
Feeling physical pain worsens your productivity and work performance, producing anxiety, stress, and mental exhaustion. Back and neck pain are common issues among office and remote workers who return to work after Covid-19 since they usually use standard chairs and desks while working, and those items don't support your back in any way.
Investing in ergonomic products is highly profitable in the long run since it avoids hospital and medicine bills from back and neck pain and improves your employees’ work performance, boosting the company’s productivity.
What Are the CDC Thoughts on This Matter?
The CDC is a top authority when it comes to anything related to the pandemic, so we can learn many things from reading their website, articles, and conferences. Fortunately, they share your concerns about going back to work after quarantine, and we want to share the information they provide with you. Considering that, here are the main symptoms of having burnout due to stress and anxiety of going back to work after Covid-19 and some ways of addressing those issues according to the CDC guidelines for returning to work:
- Having trouble sleeping.
- Being easily irritated.
- Feeling overwhelmed and tired after doing activities that were easy for you before.
- Having trouble focusing on things.
- Feeling anxious even if you are not thinking about working.
Ask your co-workers and friends how to deal with those problems and tell them how you feel about everything.
- Avoid alcohol and psychotropic substances.
- Take effective breaktime and do your hobbies more often.
- Practice a daily routine that you feel comfortable with.
- Recognize things you don’t have control over.
As you could see, many things produce anxiety and make you feel unsure about going back to work after quarantine, but there are also many things you can do to feel better and boost your productivity.
It's normal to feel unsure about this matter, but you should take it as a new job opportunity that you can profit from, using it to learn new things and discover new benefits that can boost your overall work quality. Don't let yourself down and practice the advice given in this article to take as much advantage as you can from it.
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