Returning to work, especially to the office is becoming a reality for some. For some this will be a welcome opportunity to reconnect, others may have little choice and it might bring concerns and anxieties, all of which are very understandable in these strange times. Those concerns may range from the journey to work to how to keep a safe social distance in the office. It is clear that each individual’s experience and feelings are unique to them. However, Birbeck University together with Affinity Health at Work, have identified some general principles to help in a post on the Mental Health at Work website.
- Talk and connect: ensure you talk to both colleagues and managers
- Plan and prepare: especially think through your first day back, how will you get there and what you might expect?
- Have a return work conversation with your manager: to discuss concerns and workload including priorities
- Take things one step at a time: don’t expect things to return to ‘normal’ quickly
- Monitor and review how you are getting on
- Be kind to yourself : this was mental health awareness week theme for this year and there are a lot of useful resources on the Mental Health Foundation website
It is important that management understand the needs and concerns of their employees. The Chartered Management Institute have produced a helpful booklet, which is a practical guide to navigating the impact of the COVID-19 situation and can be downloaded here. Importantly it has a section on mental health and well-being , helping to shine a light on mental health. Empowering individuals to speak up about mental health is a key focus for Jonathan’s Voice and is important at all times, but maybe even more so now as we start to return to our workplaces.