Back to Work: A Blessing or a Curse for Employee’s Mental Health

I am sure we have all gotten used to working from home, it has been a blessing for employee’s mental health. No matter how much we crib about the lack of space, unpredictable WiFi or the absence of our co-workers company, we also enjoy the half an hour of extra sleep we get every morning due to the elimination of travel time. All in all, there seems to be a divide between those rooting for working for home to continue and the ones longing to go back to their office desks.

No matter what side you take, the reality is that planning for reopening during a still-unfolding pandemic is new and uncertain territory for employers and employees alike. Amid all of the upheaval brought by this pandemic over the past year, one thing has become clear: The mental health effects of this crisis are significant, and they won’t disappear upon returning to the workplace. As a result, businesses must prioritize workforce mental health as they prepare to bring employees back to their shared workplaces.

Firstly, for those who are anxious about their physical health, going back to the small cubicles in the office might seem like torture. For those people I say, remember that your office managers have been smart enough to implement rules that ensure your physical safety. Remember that everyone around you is as afraid of the virus as you are and everyone is taking utmost care. If the health anxiety gets too much, don’t be afraid to let your boss know, take a few days off, ease into it, seek help from a therapist or even practice meditation and other relaxation techniques.

Employers looking to shore up workers’ mental health and well-being–and therefore their ability to be productive, let alone thrive–have a vital role in ensuring access to care and support during this still-uncertain time. The good news? There are highly effective, evidence-based treatments that are helping people manage and overcome their mental health struggles, even amid COVID-19; and technologies that facilitate virtual care, which can be vital for those who continue to stay home. Offering access to these resources, as well as communicating regularly with your workforce about the support available to them, can make all the difference for workers in distress.

Another impact we foresee is the impact of the lack of flexibility that will occur as soon as you are forced to travel the same route, to the same office, at the same time every morning. Whether you realized it or not, working from home gave you the flexibility of being able to choose your location and even working hours to some extent. You could finish up an important article at 2am and then take an hour off the next day with no one knowing! That probably won’t be possible anymore. But don’t worry! The structure that going back to the office will bring into your life can actually do wonders for your mental health. You may crib about the traffic in the mornings at first, but soon you will realize the benefit of having a plan every morning. You life will feel full of purpose again and you will feel like a part of something. Having a fixed schedule will help reduce your levels of stress and clearly separate your work life from your home life so that you are able to leave the work stress in the office!

If you are one of those people that is not looking forward to going back to the office and your stress levels are going through the roof imaging how you’ll do it, reach out to a therapist at Trijog: Know Your Mind who will help you prepare for this big change in your life and see the positive side of it so that you are ready to step back into the office with a smile on your face, whenever it may be time to do so.

The lives we lead today amidst the pandemic is nothing short of a rollercoaster and often getting back into a routine can be a major challenge. Reaching out for help can go a long way in dealing with the current stressors and equipping yourself from having major shutdowns, not only physically but mentally too- Mavis Henriques, Senior Psychologist, Trijog: Know Your Mind