Returning to the Office after Working from Home PKG

As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease, more people are returning to the office. A psychologist offers tips on how to cope with the changes.

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CLEVELAND – As COVID-19 restrictions continue to scale back, some people may start to feel anxious — which Cleveland Clinic psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD, said is normal.

“There is a wide range of emotion. Some people are very excited and others are very nervous. In some ways, it relates to your ability to adjust to new situations, and this is a new and unprecedented situation for all of us,” said Dr. Albers.

So how do you cope with all these changes? She said give yourself time to readjust. Research shows it can take up to 66 days to form a new habit. It can also be helpful to think about what exactly is bothering you. Finally, try not to judge others.

“It is tempting to question other people about why they are still wearing their mask, but it’s really important to remember that many people have underlying medical conditions or immune issues and may feel safer continuing to wear their mask,” Dr. Albers explained.

She said returning to the office could be stressful too. Many people have grown comfortable working from home. She said if you haven’t already gone back yet, be sure to mentally prepare. Imagery can be very powerful. The same goes for getting your desk organized.

“Consider rearranging your work environment to give yourself more space. You may want to rearrange your desk. You may also want to move chairs farther apart,” said Dr. Albers. “You can create natural barriers. Stand behind your desk instead of next to a person in front of you.”

She knows it may be a tough transition, but try to find the silver lining.

“What have you gained from being at home and is there anything you can apply and bring back with you as you return to work,” she said.

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