Mental health | Return to work anxiety

Wellbeing consultant for Stress Matters James Capell-Abra says relieve return to work anxiety by adopting an ASK and TELL culture

17 Jun, 21

Consultant for Stress Matters James Capell-Abra says relieve return to work anxiety, and enhance mental health, by adopting a Tell and Ask culture

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We’ve all experienced the past 15 months differently.

Some people have enjoyed being at home on furlough and pursued some hobbies that they haven’t been able to for a long time. Others have lost businesses, livelihoods or even loved ones.

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As the kbb industry starts getting back to some kind of normality again, and we start seeing more and more people face to face, there’s one very important thing we should be reminding ourselves. We have all experienced this pandemic differently.

You see, us homo-sapiens are very judgemental creatures. It’s very easy for us to see people ‘like us’ or ‘not like us’ and judge them accordingly.

We tend to assume that others will react in a similar way to us in the same circumstances and think it strange if they don’t.

And remember, most of our judgements are communicated through unconscious body language.

So, as we all start heading back into offices, showrooms, to exhibitions and into client’s houses, I would urge you to remember that we have all experienced the pandemic differently.

Different experiences

Just because you are happy to go back into the office full time, it might fill your colleague with absolute dread.

Just because you think it’s safe to carry out a survey at a client’s house, doesn’t mean that the client isn’t petrified of you doing this.

Perhaps you’re returning to work from furlough feeling refreshed and excited, but maybe your boss is near burnout and worried about finances after manning the helm alone for too long.

Anxiety is rife right now and it’s very difficult for us to anticipate how people are feeling.

Tell and Ask

So I’m going to share two very simple tips. TELL and ASK.

TELL people you work with what you are and are not comfortable doing right now.

Let them know your boundaries and what might cause you anxiety.

If your colleagues, clients and suppliers are aware, they’re more likely to respect these boundaries.

ASK people what they are comfortable with doing right now.

For now, at least, ask if it’s ok to pop round and take some additional measurements.

Provide reassurance of safety and an alternative option if you can.

By telling and asking, we can better understand what’s going to cause anxiety for us all. Only then can we be conscious of our actions to help avoid it.

Are you feeling stressed? James Capell-Abra talks about the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.