Easing Stress On Return To The Office

One of the biggest challenges of this pandemic has been working from home. But now, are you hesitant about returning to the office? If so, read this.

Are you hesitant about that return to the office moment? Check out Emma's tips to ease into a new routine.

To all those people who said, "We need to learn to live a 'COVID-normal' life", we say, "if there's one thing that Covid isn't, it's 'normal".

One of the most significant changes during this pandemic has been working from home.

As restrictions promise to ease, many of us may be looking forward to office time and connecting with our workmates. However, for some, heading back to the office requires another round of adjustments. To help, we had a chat with Emma, a counsellor, who shared her top six tips.

  1. Acknowledge your emotions

Humans are creatures of habit; we like routine and consistency. This is why change is hard. The unknown can bring up feelings such as anxiety, fear, uncertainty, dread, curiosity. It takes time to adapt to change.

The more we push away negative emotions, the stronger they can become. Try to acknowledge these feelings are normal when adapting to a change, allow them, and sit with them. 

  1. Managing anxiety

Focus on what is within your control (your own hygiene practices, for instance) and try to let go of what is outside of it (such as the behaviour of others).  

  1. Plan ahead

Being prepared in advance can help you avoid potential stressors in your day, for example: 

  • Your transport to work (car, public transport, parking, traffic).
  • If you are anxious about using public transport during peak hours, perhaps you can start and finish work earlier to avoid the crowds.
  • You may choose to take your own food if you are uncomfortable going to cafes or malls.
  • Practising mindfulness during or before your commute through apps such as Smiling Mind, Headspace meditation apps can also be really helpful. New to mindfulness? You can find more information through this factsheet
  1. Keep your good habits/routines

If you developed some habits or routines while working from home that have benefited your mental health, try to keep these up, for example:

  • Getting fresh air, sunshine, doing a lunchtime workout or a morning walk.
  • Logging off/leaving work on time or starting earlier and finishing earlier. 
  1. Look for the positives
  • Transitioning back to a more fast-paced environment may seem daunting. Remind yourself that you managed that before and will work your way back up to it in your own time. 
  • Remember - we've all come through a really tough year and that's an achievement in itself.
  1. Ask for support
  • Be open about your concerns and how you are going. Whether this is with your manager, HR, colleagues, family or friends, keep a dialogue happening. Some workplaces can be flexible during the transition back to the office. 
  • Continue to check in with your regular supports such as your GP or psychologist.  

Situations are rarely black or white, all good or all bad. Even if you are feeling overwhelmed about the return to work, try to look for some small things you are looking forward to (for example, seeing colleagues, having a clearer separation between home and work life).

And if you feel like you need some additional help or advice, for all of October you'll have free access to SANE's 'best in class' 1 to 1 Wellbeing Check-in - a 25-minute mental health check-in and chat with a professional Peer Support Worker, completely anonymous and confidential, at a time that suits you.

This free Wellbeing Check-in is available exclusively to International Towers community members in Tower Two, Tower Three or International House.

Log in or Register to our Partner Portal to book your free check-in.

Partner Portal Log In


Mental Health Month encourages us all to think about our mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether we may have a lived experience of mental ill-health or not. We're incredibly proud and excited to partner with SANE Australia, a national charity helping people live long and fulfilling lives, free from stigma and discrimination. They support anyone affected by mental health issues, including family and friends, through information and stories, peer support, and counselling. 

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