Many of us have been away from our offices and workplaces for some time as a result of the pandemic.
But with the ending of the furlough scheme at the end of September, the return to work will continue to gather speed.
Naturally, having been away for so long, many of us will be anxious about returning back to public spaces and mixing face to face with our colleagues again.
So here are some simple tips for helping to make sure getting back to work goes as smoothly as possible.
Take a break
Many workers never take their lunch break. But they are given (and enshrined in law) for a reason – to prevent burnout and help staff remain fit and healthy.
If you are at work for more than six hours a day, you must be given a 20-minute break. For the average eight-hour day, most employers will offer at least a 30-minute rest.
Don’t be afraid to use your breaks. A few minutes away from your workstation when permitted will pay dividends for both you and your employer in the long term because you’ll be sharper, happier and more focused as a result.
And if you’re stopping for lunch, try not to eat it at your desk. A change of scenery is just as good for you as the food itself.
Disconnect at the end of the day
Have you got into the habit of leaving your phone or laptop connected to work even at the end of the working day?
Now’s a good time to end it and disconnect fully when you clock off.
You are not being difficult in working the hours you are contracted to work – just looking after your own mental health and ensuring a reasonable work-life balance. Any responsible employer will see it this way.
Of course, you may need to be contacted in an emergency, but routinely monitoring or answering emails after hours, working on reports late into the night or checking on your work’s internal communication channels at all hours is not in anyone’s best interests.
If you’re stuck in a chair all day staring at a screen, make sure you get up and stretch your legs every now and again.
There are plenty of studies which show a quick walk around the room is both good for you physically, and mentally as well.
And it might also be worth considering asking about having a desk you can stand at to work instead of being seated to help prevent some of those aches and strains.
Don’t always chase perfection.
There’s an old business trope that perfection is the enemy of good.
It’s a cliché for a reason – there’s more than an element of truth in it.
Not only does chasing perfection mean every task takes longer, it adds additional stress into your own perception of your work.
Everybody wants to do the best they can. But there is a huge difference between doing your best and being perfect. One is attainable, the other is not.
Set yourself realistic goals and targets, turn off the inner critic which is always passing judgement on you, and set appropriate standards for both yourself and your colleagues. You’ll be amazed what a difference it can make.