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Heading Back to the Workplace? Here's Some Tips to Help Re-Adjust

MONDAY, Aug. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Freaked out about trading Zoom meetings and the privacy of working at home for a return to the office?

You've got plenty of company. As more workplaces reopen, stress about health risks and new routines is front and center.

The Center for Workplace Mental Health knows what you're are going through. The center, a program of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Foundation, is offering tips to help employers understand team members' concerns and support the transition back to their desks.

"Everyone's situation and experience will be different, but for those of us who spent the last 16 months at home, we're not just going back to 'normal,'" said APA president Dr. Vivian Pender. "We'll all be dealing with new logistical and emotional challenges, and different people will have different burdens."

The center suggests employers consider surveying workers or hosting a town hall discussion to better understand the concerns.

Among them are worries about COVID-19 variants, commuting, caregiving responsibilities, establishing new routines and dealing with grief over the loss of loved ones or from racial trauma.

The center also suggests that employers:

  • Keep workers fully informed about plans and changes in policies and procedures. Encourage open discussion about experiences and concerns with transitioning back.

  • Make employee mental health a visible priority by creating an environment where it's comfortable to talk about mental health and getting help. Make sure employees are aware of the resources available to them.

  • Be flexible as people transition to new schedules, commutes and routines.

  • Offer chances to help employees be more resilient, including mindfulness practices. Create a healthy work environment by prioritizing reasonable work hour limits and promoting physical health.

Dr. Saul Levin, CEO and medical director of the APA, said the Center for Workplace Mental Health's new guide is "essential reading" for managers to want concrete ways to support employees' return to the workplace.

"Everyone is dealing with new life circumstances, and some of it will involve trauma, and not all will be evident," he said in an APA news release. "It's important that we check in on and take care of each other."

The center also offers an online training program for managers and supervisors.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on promoting workplace mental health.

SOURCE: American Psychiatric Association, news release, Aug. 5, 2021

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