If you’re feeling social anxiety after returning to the office, you’re not alone. After a year of remote work — and seeing our coworkers only on screen — the idea of seeing everyone again in person can feel overwhelming. It is also abundantly clear that our current normal is nothing like the old normal. As the workforce slowly transitions back to the office, it’s evident that employers must continue to adapt. This means employers and employees need to find common ground in the office.
The return to offices is an opportunity for us all to examine how we have changed, and use these learnings to foster a work environment that suits everyone.
As employees, the first thing for us to understand and appreciate is that our employers have given a great deal of thought to a return to the office. Employees need to appreciate that businesses have put a huge amount of effort and energy into trying to make the workplace as safe as possible.
While some of us would like to see our employers adopting a more flexible working environment, the best way to approach this is in a collaborative way, she suggests. It is important for us to understand as employees, that the situation needs to work for everybody.
If you started work during the pandemic, chances are a return to the office means that you are meeting some of your colleagues in the flesh for the first time.
We will all react to a return to the office differently. It may have suited some personalities nerves to work remotely because you can concentrate better and you don’t have the distractions, and the interruptions and all of that. And then for other people who kind of lead with more extroverted energy, they might be dying to get back to work.
If you found yourself working at the weekend, or overtime during the pandemic, now is the time to reassess your situation. While in theory, we shouldn’t be sending each other emails late at night, equally the onus is on us not to reply to them until work hours begin. It is a chance for us to look at the positive changes we have made during the pandemic, and continue to improve on them.
The big thing about getting the balance between the remote working and the office working is all going to be founded on trust, and trust goes two ways.