What to expect when returning to Work
A quick Google search of the words ‘return to work after COVID’ unleashes hundreds, even thousands of posts and articles about how employees and employers should manage the gradual return to so-called normality after this unprecedented period of enforced lockdown.
However, even perusing the first handful of those articles reveals anomalies and inconsistencies with what exactly the process is, and what that ‘normality’ will look like.
The common and consistent themes are that:
- Masks will have to be worn on public transport, where distancing rules will also have to be respected
- Workstation changes will be implemented to physically separate us from our colleagues, with sneeze guards and other measures potentially being introduced
- There will be toilet break rules
- Lunch breaks will change to a staggered system rather than everyone congregating in the staff canteen or nearby cafe
- New shift patterns will be introduced to allow for distancing
- There will remain an overriding fear of infection at work
- There will no doubt be varying degrees of anger at colleagues flouting the rules
These are just some of the realities that the UK workforce faces as we embark on the long, slow march back to work.
On top of that, we could all be faced with temperature tests as we arrive at our workplace. Lifts could be taped off. We also face the potential for spikes in harassment complaints and whistleblowing as workers see different employers taking varying approaches to the loosening of lockdown – a tension created by differing interpretations of government guidance.
Businesses prepare for a new World
While companies scramble for coherent and consistent legal and practical advice as they prepare for the realities of managing workplaces post-lockdown, there are major concerns that employees are unclear as to what kind of environment they’re readying themselves to return to. And industry figures have also highlighted that the potential mental health impact on employees is way down the pecking order in terms of priority.
“We don’t think what we’ve seen so far recognises the emotional impact and anxiety that people will have of what is essentially an alien environment that some people will be returning to,” David D’Souza, a director at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told The Guardian.
Supporting your Workforce
In a world of uncertainty, the fuse on another mental health ticking timebomb is about to be lit, unless organisations put mechanisms and initiatives in place to support a workforce that is bound to feel nervous and anxious about what their new work reality will look like.
With that in mind, Mental Fitness App MyMindPal is offering organisations a free, no obligation seven-day trial so that they can help support their employees during this incredibly uncertain time.
Help us protect the mental health of the UK workforce by clicking here for your seven-day free trial.