Business owners across America are wrestling with reopening as the COVID-19 pandemic starts to wane. Many people are eager to get back to normal, at least in some respect: some are waiting to go back to their offices, go out to lunch or dinner at their favorite restaurant, or shop in person again after a year spent mostly at home. But while the number of coronavirus cases is falling and COVID-19 vaccinations are widely available and being applied, many business owners have not committed to bringing employees back to work in person because they know many will struggle with the stress and anxiety of making that transition.

If you are returning to work in person, you might be one of the people business owners are trying to address as they develop new protocols and work/life rules. Here are three tips for getting back to normal as an in-person employee, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


1.  Take it slow and easy.

Many businesses are helping employees transition back to in-person work in a gradual way, rather than returning to complete weeks of full days. Going from working remotely to working in the office five days a week is a big jump, just as it was when you were forced to work from home at the start of the pandemic. If you have the option to ease back into your pre-pandemic work schedule, you might want to seriously consider taking advantage of it.

2.  Look ahead to positives.

Focusing on the positive things about returning to in-person work can help you manage any associated stress and anxiety you have about it. Resuming a routine of working away from your home office may help you feel more productive since working from home can be difficult in terms of interruptions and the pull of family and fun. Also, rebuilding and/or strengthening workplace relationships is a positive aspect of the transition that you can look forward to after so much isolation over the last year or so.

3.  Embrace the transition, regardless of any uneasiness.

After more than a year of isolation, you might feel more socially awkward than ever. It is important to take that awkwardness in stride and give yourself a chance to adjust. Your uneasiness should subside soon after resuming in-person work as your level of socialization increases; your comfort level as you begin engaging with others again will increase.


Confronting your stress and anxiety about returning to in-person work is going to be important. Using coping mechanisms as you make the transition will be key. Make sure to pay attention to both physical and mental cues so you can address your feelings effectively. If you are struggling so much that you are not having success returning to in-person work, you might consider seeking professional help.

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Written by: Erika Mehlhaff