Oct 4th 2021

Anxious about returning to the office? Here are 4 positives to focus on

We are officially over halfway through 2021, which means many companies have begun to encourage workers to head into the office again. For some, this change back to what we used to know as the “norm” is exciting and long sought after. However, for others, this change can be perceived as an uncomfortable thought for those who are anxious about returning to the workplace. If you’re someone who isn’t keen to return to the office, then below you’ll find four positive pointers to focus on.

1. Re-kindling work friendships and making new work friends (in person!)

WFH has been a bit of a rollercoaster, from being completely used to being surrounded by people for the most part of the day, to having to work in silence in your kitchen with a poor WiFi connection. All of the ups and downs have been a tough pill to swallow, but, once again we are creatures of habit and most of us by now have gotten used to the tranquillity and ease of rolling out of bed to start work. 

Although the comfort and ease are great, it is also slowly turning all of us into WFH hermits which in turn makes us socially anxious. Whenever you start to feel anxiety seeping in at the thought of having to go into the office, just think about how nice it will be to actually speak to your colleagues in real life from across your desk to ask a simple question and not have to Slack them or create a Zoom call. 

This time away from the office also means you will have missed the opportunity to meet all the newbies in person too! You’ll have some new faces to get to know, which is always fun!

2. Separating your work and personal life… again!

As much as that whole rolling out of bed thing is a pro for WFH, it is also a huge con. Yup, we said it! But why, you ask…? Well, WFH means that you never really know how and when to turn off your work button, especially if you’re a workaholic. Having your work and personal life back into its compartments means you’ll *hopefully* leave work thoughts at the workplace and life thoughts at home, giving you a healthy life balance. Too many times in lockdown and over the past 18 months we’ve heard of people burning out or taking leave for mental health reasons; and although WFH has given some people anxiety, it has also hugely impacted people who can’t get enough of their job. The temptation of having to log on to your work laptop after dinner or on the weekend to get that last little bit of work done will be long gone (or so we hope it will be!).

3. Making most of your work and colleague community 

As mentioned in the first point, you’ll be able to rekindle work relationships as well as making new ones. But the positives of being in the office don’t stop there. Having access to fellow colleagues at such close proximity without technology in the way of an idea means you’ll be able to connect and work on projects without having to actively organise chunks of time in your diary to merely chat about certain tasks, projects or ideas.

Having that easy access to your colleagues will probably not only enhance your work productivity but also provide that fun social aspect that work is meant to provide in your daily life. 

4. Routine

Although we are 18 months down the line of WFH and you most likely already have a good, thought out routine, going back to the office might be exactly what you need if you’re in a slump and don’t have that perfect routine TikTok makes you believe everyone else has. 

We can all agree that commuting isn’t our favourite thing ever but if you’re struggling to get that well-thought-out routine this far into remote working, then going back to the office might actually benefit you and potentially even lower your anxiety!

It’s okay to be anxious

Focusing on the positives is always a great way to lower anxiety and uneasiness. However, it’s been a tough year and a half with a lot of changes, so this method doesn’t always work. This is why it’s worth noting a few tips on what not to do if you are feeling overly anxious and the positives aren’t quite enough to encourage you to head back to the office. Remember (!) if that’s the case, it’s okay! We all go at our own pace.

  1. Don’t put pressure on yourself to jump back into normal office life straight away or to “live your best office life” because ultimately, you are the number one priority when it comes to your mental wellbeing.
  2. Don’t force yourself to get every task done on your to-do list, no matter how small or large it may be. Being in an office environment means having more people around to get distracted by which will ultimately mean you’ll probably procrastinate a bit more than if you’re in the work zone at home. Prioritising your tasks by how urgent they are can really help. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to speak up about your worries and boundaries with your superiors. Going back to the office can be overwhelming mentally and physically, so if you’re not feeling 100% then speak to your boss about options tailored to you until you feel more comfortable working full-time from the office again.

Although many of us have become accustomed to WFH life it can be a double-edged sword in some cases. Going back to the office might actually benefit the anxiety you’re feeling, especially when you think of the positives that are to come from it. Plus, it’s good to remember that most, if not all companies, have put measures in place to make you feel safe in the workplace, but if you feel as though they haven’t, then speak up and express those concerns. Because at the end of the day, we are still living through a pandemic and we deserve to feel safe!