In March 2022, many offices reopened their doors after a two-year hiatus from the pandemic. However, some office spaces are just getting back into the groove of normalcy and lifting certain pandemic protocols, especially those in bigger cities. Plus, for those with hybrid or optional in-office workdays, people are making use of reopened workspaces now more than ever.
For many people, heading back to office life causes spouts of apprehension, from post-pandemic uncertainties to new readjustments to an influx in social interactions. No matter the cause of unease, anxiety makes workdays more tiring, longer, and more challenging. Here are four top tips for coping with the anxieties of going back to the office.
Acknowledge and Identify Your Anxieties
Clarity on your stressors and causes of unease helps you better find ways to soothe your anxieties. Common office anxiety stimulants include:
- Increased social interaction
- The unfamiliar setting and routine
- Health concerns
- Commute to the office
- Balancing office distractions and work
- Feeling judged or watched
- Comparisons to other team members
- Sensory overload
For those uneasy about the social aspect of office life, finding a buddy helps you feel more comfortable in groups. If you easily get overstimulated, finding ways to reground yourself, like drinking tea, fidget gadgets, and stepping out for fresh air, helps combat those sensory anxieties. Identifying the cause of your anxieties allows you to work on coping mechanisms and makes it seem less daunting.
Confide in Someone at Work
It’s easy to struggle in silence, especially if you doubt your feelings or fear burdening others. However, confiding in someone at work about your anxieties offers many benefits. It provides you with an outlet and sheds some light on your struggles, making people more understanding and aware of your situation and needs.
Prepare Yourself With Packed Essentials
Switching your work environment or losing access to the comforts of your home causes many people anxiety. Equipping some back-to-the-office must-have items prepares you for the change in work conditions and provides you with the right tools to maximize comfort. Plus, being prepared for anything reduces the stress of the unknown and potential “what ifs.”
Establish a Routine and Moments of Pause
Routines produce comfort from familiarity and build a set of reliable actions to look forward to throughout the day. Establishing a routine reduces multiple anxieties, from sensory overload to lack of home comforts in the office to new or unfamiliar exposures. Adding recharging activities into your daily conventions, like taking regular breaks or moments of pause, grabbing your favorite beverage or snack, and journaling, further increases the benefits of an established routine.
There are many ways to cope with the anxieties of going back to the office, from acknowledgment and identifying the stressors to creating routines and coming to work prepared for anything. No matter the cause of uneasiness or preferred healthy coping mechanism, dealing with any form of anxiety takes time and patience. These four tips offer some starting points to work with, maximizing your comfort and making your office space more enjoyable.