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Tips for returning to work after furlough or working from home

During the past 18 months, many people have experienced an upheaval to their working lives, finding themselves on furlough for extended periods of time or adjusting to working from home.

While the lifting of restrictions signals a return to some level of normality, after a period of time away from work or the office, it is natural to feel anxious, apprehensive and perhaps out of practice.

Here are some key tips which might help you prepare for your return to work or the office:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings and mental wellbeing. Change can be hard to deal with at the best of times, so noticing how you feel about returning to work is important. Taking time to experience those feelings is key in knowing what support you need moving forwards. If you feel anxious or apprehensive then think about what might help to alleviate those fears or worries.
  2. Talk to your manager. When you have the opportunity, speak to your manager about how you are feeling, the support you need and what skills you feel you might need to redevelop as a result of time on furlough or working from home. Set this as a clear agenda, so that your feelings and priorities don’t get lost. You deserve to be listened to and supported.
  3. Set expectations for yourself and others. Being clear with those around you (family, colleagues, friends) about what is achievable is so important. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to perform as you did before. Just getting back into the swing of things is important.
  4. Develop a new routine. For many of us, spending lots of time at home has meant that there have been later nights, longer lie-ins and perhaps even working in your pyjamas! Developing a clear routine for returning to work or the office is really important. Have a regular alarm on each working day, have a plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plan your travel if necessary, and try to go to bed at the same time each night. These little things can help with the bigger transitions you are facing.
  5. Don’t forget self-care. Despite probably being busier, try and make some time just for you. This could be exercising, resting, taking a bath, walking, playing sports, shopping, going out for a meal, reading a book, listening to a podcast... The list goes on but try to do something which feels good and gives you space to just ‘be’.

If you ever want to talk through how you are feeling about returning to work or the office, remember that you are not alone. Just text SHOUT to 85258 at any time of the day or night to talk to one of our trained volunteers.