HomeNews & Media CentreArticlesCorporate HealthWorried About Your Return to Work? Anxiety About the Water Cooler is Real

Worried About Your Return to Work? Anxiety About the Water Cooler is Real

Return to work will be something we will all face as lockdowns ease, and many people go back to their offices and workplaces.

After so long at home, it is understandable that people might feel a bit nervous and even anxious about their return to work. It’s hard for all of us with Covid still about.

Let’s face it, most of us have been working in our comfiest clothes – even our PJs – and we’re used to our own company. For months, we haven’t had to worry about other people. While it’s been lonely, and most of us are looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues again, the thought of returning to a busy workplace can still seem somewhat daunting.

Beyond Blue suggests we might be stressed about a few things. Here are some of the main ones for a CovidSafe return to work.


Having to catch public transport with other people. Even with rules around mask-wearing and social distancing, catching a bus or train to work is a valid concern. Wear your mask, keep your distance from others and wash your hands once you get to work and return home.

Sharing equipment

Even if you have your own desk or workspace, you may have concerns about shared spaces such as meeting rooms, bathrooms, and the water cooler.

Different industries will face different challenges – such as healthcare workers, or manufacturing and construction. Remember that your employer will need to have a CovidSafe Plan and you can minimise your time in shared spaces.

Changing routines

Going back to your workplace will take some getting used to again. This will be hard for parents who have also had more time with their children during lockdowns. As schools start taking students in the next weeks and months, you can prepare yourself and your children for the changes by talking to them about the changes.


So what can you do?

Beyond Blue has some tips that can help you work your way through concerns or anxieties you might have about returning to the workplace.

Speak up

Your employer cannot address your concerns if they don’t know that you have any.

If you are worried about your return to work, tell your boss or manager. It may be that they have anticipated these concerns and have taken steps to address them.

If not, they can’t fix a problem that they don’t know exists. By talking to your manager, you can work through solutions together.

Keep in mind that workplaces will be subject to stringent Covid-19 safety rules and regulations for some time to come.

It is in an employer’s best interest to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees. Check your employer’s CovidSafe Plan and whether their marshals are properly trained.


Is working from home still an option?

Not everyone will have to return to the office. If working from home suits you, speak with your manager about whether you can continue that arrangement – either full-time or part-time.

Even if it’s part-time for a short period, it can help with you to adjust and hopefully help ease any anxiety you might be feeling.


The advice about looking after yourself during lockdown still applies!

While we were all working from home and subject to lockdown, we were reminded to take care of ourselves. That doesn’t change because we might go back to the office.

It is still important to prioritise important self-care such as exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, and spending time with loved ones.

Overall, Rehab Management can help through training and chatting with you about your needs.

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