Empty Office

As empty offices are set to be filled with workers again, people are anxious about COVID protocols and what their new office life will look like, photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

Many offices are looking to reopen in the near future and people all around the country are feeling anxious and hesitant about returning to their workplace. Some Goodhue County residents have been wondering what they can do to make the transition smoother and the answer to that is: prepare, prepare, prepare!

The more you prepare for your new COVID friendly work environment, the easier it will be to adapt to your new surroundings.

Here are a few tips for a safe and successful return to the office:

Be ready for a different environment

With social distancing measures in place, your office won’t look the same as before, but that is okay, according to Yahoo! Finance. Understanding that those precautions are in place for your safety and the safety of others will help with the change.

Understand your rights

You must remember that it is your employer’s responsibility to take the necessary precautions to ensure that you and the others around you are safe.

In Minnesota, you have the right to refuse work if, in good faith, you believe that your current working conditions created by your employer presents an imminent risk or could cause serious physical harm. This includes COVID-19 exposure precautions. 

You can contact the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration at osha.compliance@state.mn.us, 651-284-5050 or 877-470-6742 with questions or concerns.

If after returning to the office, a family COVID related emergency occurs, your employer must provide you with job-protected, unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. 

You can call the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-487-9243 with questions or concerns.

Find out what is expected of you

Before heading back to the office you need to understand what protocols you have to follow, according to the New York Times. Social distancing and masking will be expected, but some offices will require additional COVID measures to be followed. If you are unsure about your office’s safety measures, contact your boss or supervisor for confirmation.

Conduct self check-ins

Increased stress and anxiety levels when returning to the office is completely normal. As larger venues like offices, bars and concerts open back up, the idea of being surrounded by a lot of people after so much time spent in your house can be daunting. 

Going back to the office will feel strange at first, but it’s important to conduct self check-ins to make sure your stress levels aren’t maxing out. Step away to a more quiet space to continue your work or take a small five minute break to gather your thoughts and understand your emotions.

Remember that you aren’t alone in your pandemic formed social anxiety. If you are feeling too overwhelmed about returning to the office, ask your boss if you can slowly phase back into office life to make the transition easier.

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