By now, many people have been away from their workplaces for almost three months. As children go back to school and people start to plan their return to work, many are feeling uncertain and worried about what life’s going to be like. As anyone who’s ever taken a career break or been on maternity leave will tell you, getting back to work even in normal times can be challenging for three key of reasons.
- First, there’s the uncertainty around what will have changed. Post Covid-19 this is exacerbated as no one really knows what the ‘new normal’ will look like.
- Then there’s this weird social isolation thing that no one wanted or even thought they could cope with for longer than a couple of weeks, though has now become ‘usual’ and it’s both weird and challenging to even contemplate being part of a group again, let alone interacting with people face to face.
- And then there’s confidence, or lack of it. As we’ve all been working within different parameters for so long, it’s hard to remember how things were and what being part of something successful felt like.
Here’s our 10-point plan for preparing a successful return:
- Read the government guidelines for a safe return to work and any other advice your industry or your employer might have provided
- Work out the practicalities, for example travel plans (maybe have a dry run), and think about other logistics such as access, returning part-time and so on
- Have some responsible socially distanced face to face interactions with friends and colleagues to ease you ‘back into the swing’
- Write down what you’ve learned from your period of enforced isolation, what you’ve achieved and how this can potentially be useful when you return to work
- Reassess your career goals so you’re clear about personal and work priorities
- Reassess your previous routine, think about how this will change and plan accordingly
- Revisit previous successes, relationships and achievements at work and think about how you can build on them, what you’d do differently and so on
- Have a one to one with your line manager about your return and how you can both make it a success, making sure goals, priorities and logistics are clear
- Accept that change is inevitable and tough to deal with, look upon this as positively as possible, take things slowly and celebrate small successes
- Observe, ask questions, think about what’s going on around you, be flexible, offer and accept help
If you unfortunately find yourself without a job to go back to, think about how your skills might be transferred to other organisations and/or industries and seek professional career advice from a recruitment consultancy (free to jobseekers) and/or online jobs board asap.