As we move, ever so slowly, back to a state of normality after a year or more of living with the coronavirus pandemic, so too we start to feel the stresses and strains of attempting to get back into the swing of things. For a great many of us, the act of even being in close proximity to those around us is something of a shock to the system, such is the level of lockdown and restriction we have lived within for the past 12 months plus. With lockdown easing for many of us the time to return to our working lives may be fast approaching and that may well be a cause for concern for those who feel anxious about the safety of getting back to the office. Going Back to Work In our minds we are no doubt itching to get back to our offices, to interact with colleagues, to work more productively in close quarters or even just to engage in water cooler gossip, but our bodies and minds may be someway behind our hopes in this regard. After a year or so of working from home or perhaps not working at all, you may well have become accustomed to a certain level of interaction and perhaps even the idea of coming face to face with your former work colleagues leaves you in a cold sweat. Your body, and mind, is likely to have gone into some level of emotional and physical shutdown as it looked to acclimatize to the new situation that arose when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit us. Now after 12 months of living in a certain way, the idea of simply switching back to how things used to be, isn’t as simple as flicking an on/off button. As such the companies you work with should be as amenable as possible to your personal situation. Even those who appear to feel untouched by the changing of events could well be in an extended period of shock and don’t be surprised if you return to your offices and suddenly find yourself feeling a sense of panic or uneasiness. Workplace Stress Managing workplace stress is always a key tenet of office life and this is doubly so in the aftermath of the coronavirus. Your office managers and HR departments should be doing their utmost to keep your mental, and physical, health of paramount importance. Whatever the size of the company you work within you should expect a more than competent approach to keeping employees safe. To this end your workplace should, where relevant, still be implementing social distancing directives. All shared areas must be appropriately managed and all care should be taken to manage associated risks when it comes to the potential transmission of the virus. Many offices are adopting capsule working which helps to keep office areas staffed to an acceptable, and not crowded, level. Your workplace should do all it can to alleviate your own personal stresses when it comes to returning to the office. In an ideal world you should be allowed to work from home if this is possible, especially if you do not feel comfortable returning or are not yet completely vaccinated. Therapy as a Tool to Manage Workplace Stress From a personal standpoint you might want to consider forms of therapy to help you come to terms with, and manage, the new ‘normal’ we are living within. Fortunately the pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the level of effective online therapy options. These are becoming a hugely useful resource when it comes to managing workplace stress and the act of receiving this type of service online no longer has the stigma that was once attached to it. Indeed the technological advances when it comes to flawless face to face communication online, via services such as Zoom or Skype, have made the act of online therapy the preferred method of therapy for many, especially when you consider the time we live in. There are a growing number of online therapy providers, designed to meet any specific need or service required, and as such the overall cost of such therapy has decreased. Among the most popular today are Panic Away and we’d recommend you to read more about panic away to see just what types of services are available today. We’ve all been through quite a shock and it’s easy to forget, deliberately or subconsciously, that we are living through an experience that is truly a once in a century event. Therefore it would be churlish and simplistic to expect life, and individuals, to return to normal with relative ease. Your workplace should be open and available to the possibility that their employees all react differently and individually to the times we are working through and will hopefully help you all to process the situation in as respectful a way as is humanly possible. Fortunately in 2021 most respected workplaces have adopted the level of employer/employee relations that should make such returning to work as smooth and considerate as can be hoped for.