It is fair to say that Coronavirus has created both uncertainty and confusion around the job market. According to HMRC, around 9.6 million jobs were furloughed.

With the scheme coming to an end on 31st October 2020, if you are due to return to work from furlough next month, you will most likely be returning to work under very different circumstances than before.

Whether it’s returning to the office or working from home, the prospect of starting work again can seem like a daunting experience. After having time off you may feel a bit nervous and anxious. Be reassured that this is a very normal feeling. To ensure the transition back to the world of work is as stress-free as possible, follow these tips: 

1. Create a routine

Whilst being on furlough you may have allowed yourself the rest and recovery that you needed, and your routine may have slipped. Routine is a great way to give structure to your day and provide a sense of direction. To make the transition feel less like a shock, try and get back into your work routine a couple of weeks before. Creating a routine such as going to bed and waking up at the same time will allow you to gain a good amount of sleep which can boost your mental health and immune system. If you are going to be working from home, getting dressed before you start your working day is equally as important.

2. Reconnect 

After spending time away from the office, it may have been a while since you spoke to your colleagues. Communicating with your colleagues before you restart will allow you to get up to speed with work-life and any company updates. Understanding what is going on within your department and organisation will help you to mentally prepare for your return. Make sure you share your highlights and frustrations of your time off with your colleagues. Everyone is in this together and they will also have experienced both positives and negatives in the past 6 months that they will most likely want to share with you too.

3. Avoid fearmongering

As the Coronavirus situation is constantly changing, try and only allow yourself to look at social media or watch the news twice a day. Make sure what you are reading is factual and from a reputable source. With things changing all the time it is easy to let yourself get consumed by the news stories, especially if they aren’t positive ones.

4. Keep exercising & moving

Whether you are going into work or working from home, make sure you get fresh air daily. This could be a walk before work as a replacement for your normal commute. Where possible, make sure you exercise 3-5 times a week as this can be beneficial for your mental health and release endorphins making you feel great and more self-motivated!

5. Take your annual leave

Whilst travelling abroad may seem like something that may not happen soon, holidays aren’t cancelled! It is important that you still take your annual leave to allow yourself time to reflect and to digest everything that is going on. Speak to your employer to understand annual leave entitlement after returning to work (many businesses are allowing employees to carry annual leave over to the following year).

Finally, remember it is normal to feel anxious if you are returning to work after furlough and remember that this is temporary and there will be an end. Whilst it is not always easy, focusing on what you can control and not what you can’t, will help you to focus and be as productive as possible in the workplace.