2020 has been one for the history books – I don’t think anyone had a global pandemic on their to-do list for the start of the new decade. On 23 March 2020, the UK went into a national lockdown and the way we worked as a nation changed overnight.
For some sectors the transfer to homeworking was relatively smooth, whilst others suffered dramatically – especially in roles which are impossible to operate from the comfort of a dining room table or a make-shift home office.
In April the UK government introduced a job retention scheme in an effort to save UK jobs and avoid mass unemployment. If you asked someone last year what ‘furlough’ meant, most would raise an eyebrow in confusion – 12 months on you’d struggle to go a day without hearing the word in conversation. The latest government data reports that a total 9.6 million jobs were furloughed between April and August.
As the furlough scheme is scheduled to end on 31st October 2020, many employees are starting to head back into their workplaces. This return to work may involve a cocktail of emotions – juggling the excitement, adrenaline and anxieties of returning to the workplace can be daunting, so here are five top tips to help you feel comfortable as you head back in your role, whatever it may be:
It sounds simple, but communication is key when returning to the workplace. All work environments will have changed in some way – with social distancing restrictions, one-way systems, rules around face coverings and more – so if you are unsure of new procedures it is vital you speak to your colleagues. Remember what you were first told when you started your role: no question is a silly question at first.
- Be adaptable
As well as communicating you also must accept that your role may have changed to accommodate business needs post-lockdown. Display how you can use your transferable skills in new parts of the business that need your support. All experience is good experience and if you find yourself with new duties, throw your everything into them and use them as a device to professionally develop yourself.
- Allow yourself time to get back up to speed
Although it only feels like yesterday since you were in the office, the reality is you may have been off work for several weeks or even months, and it takes time to get back up to speed. Some people may find it easier than others but change in routine and workload can take time to learn. Don’t let this be an excuse to be lazy, but give yourself the benefit of the doubt if you find yourself struggling to catch up in your first week back.
- Expect to feel tired
With a dramatic change in routine, you’re probably going to feel tired. Earlier mornings and longer days are inevitably going to produce an effect on you. Don’t allow this tiredness to take over your life but give yourself time to recover on your days off. Consider reducing late nights on your weekends and switching off when you can… you’re only human after all.
- Stay positive
Last but by no means least, stay positive! Over the last few months positivity has been more vital than ever to allow us to keep calm and carry on. Don’t let this positivity evaporate when you re-enter your workplace. Keep smiling, enjoy the company of your peers and get your teeth into whatever you do!
Written by Tom Long, Recruitment Consultant, Brook Street York Branch