4 tips for mentally preparing yourself to return to work after being furloughed

August 18, 2020 7:45:41 AM

4 tips for mentally preparing yourself to return to work after being furloughed

Anyone about to return to work after spending months on furlough is likely to be feeling a mix of emotions – relief that your role is needed once again, mixed with some nerves about how you will readjust.

For returning to old routines and job pressures, after being forced to spend a significant amount of time away from them, can be a daunting prospect.

Here, we asked experts to share simple tips for making the transition back to working life easier.

1. Get back into a routine

Set your alarm to get used to early mornings (iStock/PA)

Michael Cloonan (michaelcloonan.co.uk), life and business strategist, says: “For the past few months, the word ‘routine’ has been non-existent for many of us. Naturally then, the thought of getting back to work after months away can be somewhat daunting.”

He recommends getting into the swing of a new routine early on, so the first day back isn’t a shock to the system.

“Ahead of your official start date, set your alarm for the time you would usually be up for work and get used to the early mornings again. Try to get your clothes and lunches laid out the night before too, to get your mind back into work mode.”

2. Avoid burning yourself out in the first week

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Dr Sarita Robinson, principal lecturer in psychology at the University of Central Lancashire says: “If you work in an office job, it can be tempting to put as many meetings as possible into your diary as you get back to work. However, you should try to book some short breaks every few hours, so you have some time to recharge your batteries.

“Go slowly and gently. You may find that you and your colleagues take longer to make decisions, as you’re out of the habit of being at work. Remember, it’s an adjustment period for everyone.”

3. Reflect on the positives

Life coach Carole Ann Rice (realcoachingco.com) says, “For a few months, lockdown life offered us a little simplicity, and readjusting back to the normality of heading into the office might prove a big challenge.

“One way to make the transition back into your old routine easier is to embrace the time you’ve had off and the positives that have come along with it.

“Identify the things you enjoyed, write them down, and post them on a noticeboard or the fridge. Don’t forget about them just because life is returning back to normal.”

4.  Ask about safety measures

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Robinson adds: “It can be very helpful to speak to your boss about the safety measures which have been put in place to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19.

“You might be able to see photos or diagrams of what the workplace environment will look like, as well as familiarising yourself with any new rules or guidelines.

“This can really help to reduce back-to-work anxiety, and can reassure people that their work environment is safe.”

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