It’s not as simple as swapping trackies for trousers!
The next few months will see Australians trickle back into communal workspaces, after months of working remotely. As organisations commence this process, a rare opportunity presents to define a new normal, to pause and re-emerge in a considered way.
The steps organisations take to prepare for this next stage will determine the success of this change. Despite the differences across companies and individuals, it is vital that all organisations acknowledge the impact of this time on their people and prioritise employee wellbeing as an essential part of the transition process.
As everyone navigates the balance of holding on and letting go, for some returning to the workplace will bring a sense of relief and joy, for others anxiety, fear and overwhelm, and for many, it will be a combination. But what’s most important is for individuals to feel like they are supported and equipped with the valuable knowledge, insights and skills to be resilient, adaptive and thrive in the workplace, despite the significant changes.
The work content may not have changed much but the rules, rhythm and routine between working at home and working in the office are very different. By placing value on a strong wellbeing strategy it will assist your organisation and help employees return to the workplace with more ease and less stress; this, in turn, will empower staff to make confident choices that fulfil the mission, vision and values of the organisation. To successfully achieve this, we believe a whole-person approach must be implemented.
The key four holistic health areas that need consideration are:
With mental health no longer a taboo topic, it allows for more open and honest conversations to take place. Individuals will have different levels of comfort when returning to work. By understanding the physiology of stress and giving employees permission to go slowly and communicate personal boundaries it will make the transition feel more manageable.
Additional considerations for mental health include:
- Ability to perspective-take
- Addressing professional and personal needs
- Setting purposeful intentions
- Preparedness and organisation
Both self-awareness and mindfulness practices are great tools to manage mental health.
In times of change, individuals will often feel the full spectrum of emotions. Feelings and thoughts are great data points that provide guidance. Supporting employees to accept and address their current emotions will provide great insights that allow for greater productivity and fulfilment in the workplace.
After spending the majority of time at home with very limited social contact during the lockdown, returning to an office environment may cause a level of anxiety. Some employees may feel anxious about physical distancing and for others, there is a real fear about navigating conversations with colleagues or customers who have different viewpoints. These challenges require a level of effective communication that perhaps wasn’t as necessary prior to lockdown.
Just like an athlete returning to training after an injury, self-awareness becomes paramount, as well as the ability to remain compassionate, curious and courageous.
After all, when people have a good interaction, they feel good and when people have poor interactions, they feel diminished, so the goal is to support employees to increase their chance of interactions that provide a positive connection.
For some, working from home allowed for more time to exercise, cook healthy meals and go to bed early, whereas for others, the constant access to the kitchen called for more snacking and more couch time. Either way, it is well known that good sleep routines, a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise improve a person’s ability to cope with uncertainty, reduce anxiety and enhance mood. There has never been a more important time to emphasise the importance of good lifestyle habits.
The team at Holistic Services Group is ready to provide solutions to address the wellbeing needs of your employees, so they can return to the office with maximum ease and minimum stress during this challenging transition time.
We can facilitate interactive workshops and seminar presentations that meet the specific needs of your organisation. Call us to book one now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Consultant, Group facilitator, Panel discussion creator and moderator, Podcast Creator and Host, Health promotion facilitator and Human development enthusiast.
Lisa has 20+ years of helping people attain functional sustainable personal and professional success, in a way that’s aligned with their unique personalities, priorities, and circumstance. Through her wellbeing, clarity and leadership coaching, panel discussion moderation and group facilitation, she skillfully shares and curates insights that provoke thought and inspire creativity and action.