Dealing with Return-to-Work Stress


Preparing to return to the office after a long COVID-19 lockdown can be exciting. You are heading back to a familiar environment with people you know and new challenges to deal with. However, that does not mean that the switch from work from home to the office routine is going to be a smooth one. COVID-19 has changed us all and how we react to people and situations; how others react to us will also not be the same as it was before. An initial feeling of strangeness is natural, but if it continues for a period of time, it could affect your ability to function in the workplace. Companies are aware of this issue which is why so many of them have set up in-house guidance and counselling services to help employees reintegrate smoothly into the office. However, because all the concerns that employees have may not be directly related to physical return to the office, at times professional counselling is essential to function efficiently in the workplace.

Causes for Concern

Among the most common of concerns are:

  • Worry about health risks from others in the office.
  • Fear of bringing infections home to the family.
  • Worry that work skills have become rusty and that others may outperform you.
  • The challenges that were previously enjoyed are now a cause for fearing failure.
  • Difficulty in resuming normal social interaction with co-workers.
  • Fear of failure when taking on new responsibilities.
  • Unwillingness to plan ahead because the future is terrifying.

These are just a few of the many issues that can cause problems when returning to the office.

The Way Ahead

COVID-19 has turned everyone’s life upside down. It was comforting to look forward to a return to the old way of life and work, but it is now clear that “old ways” will not return, at least in the form we know. Struggling to adapt to a strange new way of work and life can, for some people, be a huge burden. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Just like how some people take longer to learn new languages or some people need more time compared to their friends to appreciate the flavours of a new recipe, adapting to return-to-work will also happen at its own pace. There is no right or wrong. If you are finding it difficult to get back into the office routine and are apprehensive about dealing with workplace pressures, it could be that you have not yet found the triggers you need to help you get back into your groove. This is where professional counselling can be very helpful. A counsellor will work with you to open your perceptions and understand the issues that are holding you back. When you understand the reasons for your fears and concerns and have expert guidance to help you find the answer you need, your return to office will be a smooth and successful one.

Returning to Work Can Be Stressful

After a long lockdown period, getting back to the pre COVID-19 office life and routine can be difficult. Allowing the stress to affect your performance can have a negative impact on your career prospects. Getting the help that you need, to cope with the return to office scenario will enable you to perform your best and progress in your profession.