A recent survey says that 70% of employees are worried about getting sick, about transportation, child care, or homeschooling. That’s just getting out the door. Once you’re at the office, your brain will attempt to go on autopilot. It is only natural as it wants a short cut to save energy. Instead of shortcuts, there will be uncertainty with many questions and new ways to behave in a place that was once very familiar.
Here are just a few:
While stats show it only takes ten seconds for our brains to adjust, it still requires enormous mental energy, and you may be adjusting many times a day for the first few weeks back.
How do you want to BE at work upon your return?
Here are three tips to promote emotional health and brain function by Being at Work…better than before:
1. Manage Your Anxiety
Avoid pretending it’s not there. Be honest and if it surges dramatically get the support you need.
I have a client who set their phone alert for once an hour to stand up and do conscious breathing. What he realized was that he was taking frequent, short, quick breaths that were actually making him more anxious. Four deep cleansing breaths reduce his stress and relax the tightness in his chest, expand his cranial cap and create a sense of wellbeing. Set time aside each hour to breathe, relax, and move your body.
2. Coach Your Expectations
This pandemic and the return to work—it’s ALL new. Your organization is going to make mistakes along the way, especially if they’re open to learning and improvement.
Be Patient. Be Flexible/Agile. And remember to save an extra dose for the boss who managing herself/himself plus the team.
When you find yourself triggered by someone’s action, email or presence get curious. Was your reactivity because you still hadn’t had lunch and it was 2:30 pm? Were you listening to jump in with your opinion and not really listening to your co-worker? In place of blame or making make wrong, choose another dose of patience for yourself and others.
Be pro-active and an advocate for yourself. If you’re homeschooling, don’t wait for a scheduling conflict to speak up. Let your boss know in advance that from time to time you’ll be on the phone or zoom helping your child with homework and you’ll still bring the project in, it just may be at a different, mutually agreed upon time.
And…Watch out for Assumptions.
When you worked in the building before you knew this department was super drilled down and organized and that team was creative and but could be late. Throw out the past and be 100% present for what is. Clear your files. This takes work. Your brain wants shortcuts with the overabundance of uncertainty and ambiguity right now. Choose curiosity and openness instead.
A sense of self-humor is truly essential, and that leads me to Tip #3.
3. “Choose to be a source of joy”
As author Ron Carruci says—"Nothing shifts energy like kindness, a good deed, and some healthy self-deprecation.” Be a positive presence in your building from the moment you open the door to leaving at the end of the day.
Being at work is more important than what you do at work and will be amplified in the first few weeks. This is your time to shine and bring your best self forward.
"Adversity does not build character, it reveals it."—James Allen
We will get through this collective challenge. How do you want to experience yourself and what are the structures that will support you throughout?
Personally, I highly recommend having an individual coach and if you’re a leader of a team, a team coaching program. Do all you can to make this time memorable and expand your competitive advantage by caring for your most valuable asset – You & Your Team!
Sarah passionately and practically pursues the development of leaders through intentional, organic growth. She emboldens leaders to create an environment where management is expansive, willing to move with agility beyond comfort zones, and to champion the individual and collective genius within the organization. With teams in transition she inspires connection, realignment and forward progress within the awkward movements of the changing landscape. Her belief is that coaching is as essential an element for an organization as the product or service the company produces. “An employee who grows personally, grows professionally” and coaching seeds growth.
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