COVID-19 cases are showing a downward trend in India. However, office re-openings might stoke return to work anxiety among employees as they contemplate the risks of using public transport and sharing desks, canteens or restrooms with other workers.
Here’s how employers can allay those fears and help people transition safely back to work.
Combating return to work anxiety
Double down on safety: To combat return to work anxiety among employees, make sure that workplace safety measures are comprehensive, visible, and consistently implemented. Steps like rigorous screening and sanitization; enforcing of social distancing in common areas; and training workers and managers in safe workplace behaviors shows that you’re serious about minimizing the risk.
Offer flexibility where possible: Certain roles can be performed remotely, while others require the physical presence of employees. Employers should factor in this distinction in their office reopening policy, rather than announcing a blanket ‘All Hands On Deck’ rule.
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Keep vulnerable workers in mind: Employees who are older in age, pregnant, or living with pre-existing health complications are at greater risk from the coronavirus. Such employees might not be able to cope with return to work anxiety, at least temporarily. Factor in their needs while formulating your plans.
Communicate clearly: Talk to employees about why certain people are required in office and some aren’t. Also tell them about the steps taken for their safety: for e.g., ‘staggered’ work shifts, company-facilitated conveyance, office sanitization procedures, a cap on in-person meetings, and so on. Educate them about the advantages of mindfulness at work to make sure they don’t succumb to the return to work anxiety.
"The happier and more fulfilled you are at work, the happier and more fulfilled you will be in your life.” - Workplace Anxiety by David Leads
Return to work anxiety: Endnote
Managing return to work anxiety can be tough for some employees. And that's why it’s crucial to be mindful of your employees’ mental health and humanely deal with the anxiety of going back to work.
These tips will help employers as well as employees cope with return to work anxiety and help them perform better at work.
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