Home & Family
With stay at home restrictions lifted by Governor Kay Ivey, many Alabamians are returning to work. Despite the positive and needed economic impact for Alabama families, many workers question whether it is safe to go back to work. In fact, according to a LinkedIn workforce confidence survey, more than 70 percent of workers in retail, education, and entertainment said they fear being exposed to the virus by people who may not be taking safety precautions. The pandemic is not over and workers are returning to a different environment with new physical and mental challenges. Making this transition has given many a sense of unease, along with heightened levels of fear and anxiety. Many people are already stressed about other COVID-related issues. Adjusting to being back in the workplace during this time may increase this stress. The following tips can help returning workers adjust more easily to this new work environment, reducing their anxiety and stress levels.
- Seek help to cope with the emotional changes. If you are working with a therapist or other mental help professional, stay in touch during the transition back to work. Other mental health resources are provided by the Alabama Department of Mental Health at mh.alabama.gov. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has also established the COVID CareLine as an emotional support system where people can talk with someone free of charge.
- Check with your employer about an Employee Assistance Program. Many employers offer this program to their employees. According to the US Office Of Personnel Management, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems. The type of program addresses a broad and complex body of issues affecting mental and emotional well-being, such as alcohol and other substance abuse, stress, grief, family problems, and psychological disorders. The human resources department of many organizations function as administrators for these programs.
- Return to your old routine. If you had a work routine before the pandemic, try and return to it as best as possible. Failure to resume it can increase anxiety and stress. Wake up at the normal time, bathe and dress at your regular time, eat at your normal time, and leave for work at a set time.
- Get adequate rest. The amount of rest or sleep you get at night has a direct impact on your attitude, emotions, mood, and performance at work. Try to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.
- Accept change. When returning to work, it may seem like a whole new world. Be prepared to accept cosmetic and physical changes in program delivery and service as well as a different style of communicating and interacting with clients, customers, and the public. Don’t be overwhelmed by the changes and give yourself time to adjust.
Today’s times are unprecedented and because of the uncertainty all around us, remember it is okay and normal to feel anxious about returning to work and you are not alone.