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How to prepare for returning to work

After many months of being on furlough or working from home we will all be having different feelings and emotions about returning to the workplace.

Some will be excited about seeing people again and getting back to work but for others there may be a fear of leaving the house, mixing with others or a nervousness about your ability to do you job after months of not working.

However you are feeing about going back to work, it will still be a change, so here are some things to think about prior to starting work again:

Speak to your manager - if you are feeling worried, have a conversation with your manager, talk about how you are feeling and raise any questions that you have so you can feel more confident about returning and what is expected of you.

Connect with colleagues - staying connected with others is so important for our wellbeing and it is likely that others will be feeling just as nervous. Therefore reach out to colleague and check in with those you work you, by chatting through how you are feeling can help us feel supported and less anxious.

Be prepared that work will be different - the workplace will feel different from how you last remember - recognise there will be changes and things will be different but these are to ensure your safety and that these will soon become normal.

Prepare the day before - take some time the day before to plan for your return, think about everything you need, plan what you are going to wear, check anything relating to public transport or travel so that on the day of your return everything is prepared and planned which is one less thing to worry about.

Keep up the good habits - if you have built up good habits during lockdown, try to continue with these and build them into your daily routine. Looking after our physical and mental health is so important and will help with support our mental wellbeing.

Be kind - these are new times for us all and there might be things you don’t agree with or colleague views that are different to yours, however everyone has their own pressures, stresses and worries, so be kind to others and support colleagues where ever you can.

Celebrate and reflect - at the end of your first day or week, celebrate this, especially if you were feeling particularly nervous. Also reflect on how you felt, how you managed your worries and how you are feeling now. By reflecting on how we get through difficult situations can help us when we face such situations again.

Remember it is normal to feel anxious about returning to work, even if we are looking forward to seeing people and getting back to ‘normal’ any changes can make us feel nervous, but rest assured these feelings will reduce as you start to get into a new routine.

If you would like to talk through how else we can support your organisation and your teams please do get in touch with our Director of Wellbeing, Gemma Carter-Morris on

Gemma Morris, Director of Wellbeing, Next Steps Consulting

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