Project restart

What can we do to make sure we’re protecting our mental health as much as our physical health when we return to the office?

When we went into lockdown, it took some time to adjust to a new routine of working and learning from home. Now, as lockdown restrictions are gradually being lifted we’re facing another period of adjustment as we (potentially) begin to return to work outside the home.

I’m certain that as many organisations prepare to return to their offices a lot of attention will be paid to the physical safety of staff. How much attention will be paid to their psychological safety?

Many people will have concerns over what a return to the office looks like. These could fall under a number of themes:

  • Commuting and public transport
  • Physical distancing in the office
  • Focus and motivation
  • Physical and mental health
  • Caring responsibilities

This highlights the need to create environments where people feel safe to speak their minds and voice their concerns. Where decisions are made together for the good of the team, not just the bottom line.

I’ve always been an advocate of the need for teams to pause and reflect. Now would be the perfect time to do this, before we slip back into how we did things before. To give everyone the opportunity to share their experience of lockdown and their concerns for returning to work. To decide together what work and the workplace will look like from now on. Perhaps to draw up new ways of working. And to say to each other, it’s OK.

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