Over the last eighteen months, many of us have settled into life as remote workers. While we had concerns at first as to what remote work might look like, we found that remote work brought significant benefits for our work–life balance, allowed for improved work efficiency, a greater sense of control over our work and more time with our families. Now, just as we’ve gotten accustomed to working from home, it’s time for us to return to campus.
Heading back to campus means we will have to adapt to and cultivate new routines yet again. Our schedules might look different as we will have to commute again. The time we’ve been able to spend with our families will be impacted. We may experience challenges around child and/or eldercare as well as stress and anxiety associated with the uncertainty that this change might bring. What will it be like to be face-to-face with our coworkers and students again? Will norms in how we interact be the same or different? How will we maintain the self-care routines we’ve worked so hard to establish? These unknows can be overwhelming but we are resilient, and we will find our groove again.
Here are some strategies to help facilitate the transition and put you at ease:
- Get vaccinated: Getting vaccinated against Covid is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your coworkers. The vaccine is safe and effective and will enable you to get back to doing the things you enjoy without having to wear a mask or practice social distancing (except where required by federal, state, and local law). Click here to learn more about Covid vaccine and where you can get a vaccine.
- Share your concerns and needs with your supervisor: Your supervisor wants you to thrive at work and wants to do everything he/she/they can do to help you be successful. Your school has policies in place which may include telecommuting and flexible schedules to support your work-life balance so explore these options with your supervisor.
- Take advantage of resources to support your mental and emotional well-being: Your EAP program and Cigna offer a suite of benefits to support all domains of your well-being. EAP services are available to everyone in your household as well so if someone in your home is struggling encourage them to reach out.
- Make your well-being a priority: Allocate time each day to your self-care if even only for a few minutes. Whether it be a walk, yoga or a fitness class, time knitting or reading, journaling, practicing mindfulness or engaging in a creative project, we all need to recharge. Subscribe to the GMHEC well-being newsletter to stay in the know about the events happening virtually and on your campus.
- Start adjusting your schedule before you return to work: Think about how you will need to adjust your schedule and start making those changes now. Set your alarm earlier to account for your commute time. Practice meal prepping and packing a lunch. If you have been enjoying a lunchtime workout, consider where your workout will fit into your day once you go back to the office. Think through the little changes that may disrupt your flow and how you can adapt to them now. By easing into the return to campus you will likely find that once you do return it will be a much smoother transition.
Transitions can be difficult but with a little planning and a little support they don’t have to be. Act now and make your re-entry a seamless and positive experience.