Return to Work | Supporting Anxious Employees
Return to Work | Supporting Anxious Employees

As we see more and more employees returning to their work place and life starting to get back to pre-pandemic routine, we have understandably observed some anxiety.

We have put together some tips to support your employees who may be feeling anxious to make the pace of the transition of returning to the office suitable for all.

Adapt the plans

Take an individual approach

Be considerate of those who are feeling anxious and adapt plans for those who need to return at a slower pace. Also, look out for signs of employees distress and anxiety, and be empathetic to their feelings, this will ensure all employees feel that their individual needs are supported.

Flexible working

Consider a phased return

You may have some employees who have not stepped over the office threshold for more than a year, and they may have some anxiety about returning. This isn’t just about the social distancing, but could be because they have had to establish a new home routines. Could you offer a hybrid working model to support your employees with a phased approach to support them with getting their routine back in place?

Avoid interaction

Visible prompts

There may be some employees who do not want to physically interact with colleagues, but don’t want to have an awkward conversation. Some businesses have used a wristband scheme which tells people what they are comfortable with, without having to discuss it. You could use this or an adaptation of it.

Social distancing

Keep in place for all?

Although the wearing of masks is no longer mandatory in many places, a lot of people still choose to wear them. You may wish to have a policy that states that all employees should wear a mask when moving around the office. You could also keep social distancing in place with a maximum number of people using the common areas at one time. You could also continue to supply hand sanitiser around the workplace.


What about vaccination status?

Do you need a vaccine policy? What about someone wanting to come back to the office who isn’t double jabbed? What about somebody coming back to the office that is double jabbed but has concerns around those that are not? How your team feel about it will be impacted by conflicting views. Making your position clear with a focus on supportive measures to assist with vaccinations but recognising individual choice and restrictions is key.


Provide mental health training

The HR People offer mental health first aider training which covers how to identify and respond to mental health issues and concerns. Consider providing this training to your leaders and managers to ensure they know what to look out for in themselves and employees.

We are happy to support and guide you through this challenging time, please call 01904 909655, or email us here.