The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s lives. According to The Center For Disease Control and Prevention, stress and anxiety have become a natural reaction to the past year.

As the vaccine roll-out decreases the infection rate, offices are beginning to reopen, and employees are returning to their once normal schedules.

During Mental Health Awareness Month, SCI is sharing how returning to the office may positively affect individuals and how creating happy workplaces comes into play.

Our team reached out to Dr. Manuel Astruc, a local psychologist and founder of Your Next Act.

Q: How are employees feeling about returning to work?

A: After more than a year of hunkering down and social isolation, a return to work represents a return to the familiar daily ritual, which can bring a sense of security. Additionally, there are benefits to getting back to socializing and our routines of connecting with peers.

For some, however, there may be an increase in anxiety, fear, and worry. These feelings can stem from many factors such as concerns about COVID-19, social anxiety about reacclimating to work and social rhythms outside of their comfort zone. For these individuals, it can be difficult not to judge themselves for not being happy like everyone else, which can lead to another level of isolation.

Q: What can an employer do to alleviate the stress and anxiety?

A: One way for employers and leaders of an organization to connect with staff is to validate the reality of what everyone has gone through in these unprecedented times.

Additionally, employers can express openness, interest, empathy, and lack of judgment for feedback. It can also be helpful for company leaders to share their feelings.

Q: Does providing a spacious area with a variety of office elements aid in the transition of returning to the workplace?

A: One of the keys is to provide psychological safety. The above comments are aimed at emotional awareness.

Creating a safe environment will help provide another layer of safety and show a thoughtful approach that the employer cares about and has the best interest of their employees in mind.

Standard Commercial Interiors is your full-service office furniture dealer, ready to help provide a safe and welcoming space. Our designers can point you to various products such as movable walls, collaborative spaces, ergonomic seating, and more.

Reach out today to begin the conversation.