The COVID-19 pandemic has caught everyone off guard—from small and medium-sized enterprises and startups to business owners and employees. As companies began to resume operations in the wake of the global health crisis, their entire workforce is reintegrated and employees are gradually returning to the office with safety measures in place. Most employees are going back after working from home, while some are coming from a much needed furlough.
In any case, these varying work experiences have the potential for stirring up tension and anxiety. Reentering the workplace after a global pandemic such as the coronavirus is a first for all of us. But there are ways on how you can manage your stress and boost your productivity, and such measures can also help you build mental resilience and adjust to the new normal with less anxiety.
List Down Priorities for the Day
As you go back to work, prioritization will be crucial than ever. Start off your day by listing down your to-dos according to their level of importance. But with nonstop emails from your superior and ad hoc tasks coming up every once in a while, deciding what deserves your full attention can become overwhelming. Nonetheless, the benefits of mastering prioritization can change your life. Knowing which tasks to focus on can reduce stress, improve time management and productivity, and even help you strike a healthy work-life balance as you create better boundaries during your workday. A study by researchers at Florida State University found that being committed to a specific goal makes it easier to focus your brain solely on the task at hand. Once you know how to prioritize both your time and tasks, you realize that much of the work that seemed urgent at first does not really need your attention—at least not right away.
Practice Soothing Activities During Commute
Making your way to the office can either be an opportunity to find momentary solitude or a source of stress. Before heading to work, prepare a comforting playlist. When you are taking public transportation, catch up on your favorite book or watch Netflix on your phone. If you are walking to work, take a moment to look around and appreciate the sights. A study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that adding moments of leisure to your day can reduce both your brain’s and body’s response to stress, thus decreasing heart rate as well as improving your mood and overall well-being.
Share Key Takeaways
Every one of us has definitely learned a thing or two in the last five months. Whether it is finding out about our most productive time of the day or learning about new organization techniques, these key takeaways might just be as helpful to your colleagues as well. You can incorporate these lessons that you have uncovered during the lockdown to accommodate changing workplace needs and improve efficiency. Apart from that, these exchanges of information can lead to increased performance and improved decision-making.
Reintroduce Team Building Activities
You may have tried virtual team building activities with your remote team to boost morale and chill out after a long day of work. It could have been in the form of thrilling games, happy hour, or simply just a fun chitchat to cultivate a sense of community despite the distance and situation. These team building activities can help combat loneliness and isolation, especially in the case of remote workers. While a skeletal workforce is being implemented in most companies nowadays, you can suggest having contactless in-person activities to get everyone back in sync and regain a sense of belonging.
Be Open About Your Well-being Goals
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically affected our physical and mental well-being, thus forcing us to acknowledge that we must also prioritize our self to unlock our full potential. While most of us are returning to the workplace, some might still be going through some significant physical and emotional impacts of the unfortunate situation. Carving out time for a focus group discussion or one-on-one with your superior or colleague to lay down your well-being goals is essential in fostering accountability and encouragement.
Put Away Devices Before You Sleep
Poor sleeping habits lead to higher levels of anxiety. Checking your phone or laptop and browsing through social media for news updates can trigger fears especially in times of crisis, resulting in lack of sleep. Not only can it stimulate our brain and make it hard to wind down, the light from the screen can also suppress the natural production of melatonin, a hormone that the body makes to help us sleep. Moreover, a study by the European Sleep Research Society found that sleep impacts our ability to pick up on other people’s emotions. By putting away your devices hours before going to bed, you can sleep better and be your most compassionate self.
Totally eliminating stress from our lives is impossible, but we can learn to manage and adapt to the changes. We may be dealing with stressors we have never even experienced before as we return to work. But when we discover the root cause of our stress, how we respond to it, and what helps us recharge, we can be in a position to prevent any imminent issues that may affect our productivity.