How to Combat Back to the Office Anxiety

7 December 2021

Back to the Office Anxiety

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Whilst it’s great that most workers are returning to the office, there are many people who are feeling anxious about being back in a shared workspace. This could be due to them being wary of coronavirus or simply because they’ve become accustomed to carrying out their duties at home. Even if your employees seem happy to return, it’s still a good idea to put in place a few systems that will prevent them from feeling what many are calling “back to the office anxiety”.

 

Ask your employees how they’re feeling

It all starts with the simplest action, although many businesses fail to do it. By asking your staff how they feel about returning to the office, you can pinpoint any concerns that may otherwise go unchecked. The best way to do this is on a one-to-one basis, as asking everyone in one go is bound to make feel some staff feel pressured and less likely to share their thoughts.

It will most likely be that most team members can’t wait to get back to a shared space, whereas others may have some misgivings. Honest and detailed input is crucial, as it enables you to nip problems in the bud and ensure that everyone feels safe and happy whilst at work.

 

Can you incorporate hybrid working?

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s two things:

  1. Most businesses can function and perform extremely well even when their physical premises are closed.
  2. When having a team meeting on Zoom, don’t take your laptop with you to the bathroom.

 

We understand that if you’re only just reopening your offices in full, it’s an exciting time and you want all of your employees back in the mix. However, there are numerous perks to remote working, such as being in your own personal surroundings, seeing family and pets more often, being able to pop into the garden at lunchtime, and the amount of time and money saved from not having to commute.

With this in mind, it’s definitely worth considering offering a hybrid working arrangement to your staff. Whether this is done as a percentage (e.g. staff can work from home two days a week out of five), as a designated weekday (everyone works from home on Mondays) or as a rota system (staff request specific days on an ad hoc basis), we guarantee your team members will greatly appreciate being given the option.

 

Keep it clean

Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), workers want to be reassured that their workplaces are being cleaned more thoroughly than ever before. This isn’t solely to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading, as people have also become more aware of how commercial premises can be breeding grounds for other viruses and bugs.

To put everyone’s mind at ease, highlight how you’re keeping your offices clean and hygienic, such as:

  • Regular cleaning by a contractor or in-house member of staff
  • Access to hand sanitiser, screen wipes and other day-to-day cleaning products
  • Toilets and kitchens will be regularly sanitised
  • Suitable ventilation and air circulation
  • Anyone who begins to show signs of illness will be told to work from home or take a sick day

 

Remind everyone why your workplace is awesome

All of the points above focus on easing workers back into the office and giving them reassurance. What’s equally important is to remind them why your company is such a a great place to work, as this will do wonders in boosting morale:

  • Talk about how the business is performing and share exciting plans for the future
  • Make it clear to your staff how valued they are
  • Offer employees easy ways to discuss their mental health when required
  • Organise team lunches and encourage socialising
  • Hold events whenever you can, such as bake sales and fancy dress competitions in aid of a worthy cause

When you tangibly demonstrate to your staff that your business is a great place to work, they’ll realise that they missed being in the office together. And don’t forget that there’s always room for improvement – think about additional changes and activity that will help your teams to feel safe, confident and positive every day and your business will reap the benefits.

 

Upgrade your office

We create positive workplace environments that ensure your staff are comfortable, happy and productive. To find out more about how we can design office layouts that perfectly suit your exact requirements and increase workflow, get in touch on 01482 301000.

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