How do you feel about returning to the office? - I felt a bag of nerves...
7 minutes. That's exactly how long it took me to get out of my apartment. Between the anxiety of forgetting something and the apprehension of leaving my nest, plus, I must have passed in front of the mirror around 50 times, uttered dozens of little cries of motivation and considered various ways to escape from this situation. It's like a back-to-school experience all over again, and I definitely don’t feel ready.
😨I'm happy to be back with my coworkers, to be able to talk to them, well, really talk to them, and to have the informal exchanges at the coffee machine that we've all missed. But do I really want to see Mark again? And listen to his lame jokes? Oh, and I almost forgot about my toxic manager who constantly made me feel awful about myself!
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Going back to the office after Covid meant I was no longer alone...
I still remember the route in to the office, which helps diminish part of my anxiety. Yet, as soon as I begin my commute, I start panicking that I’m too overdressed for a Tuesday. Yep, I’ve officially lost the notion of following a suitable office dress code! In my defense, I haven’t exactly worn anything other than yoga pants and sweaters for the past 12 months. The congestion of the subway also throws me off, I’d almost forgotten that other people existed. So it looks like it's the end of my time working from home, and the return of the commute from hell. The problem is, my patience still seems to be in lockdown…
🚗 🚗🚗 🚗 Every minute I spend in the subway at a standstill, feels like a minute that was stolen from me. While my time was my own, while during this whole period of quarantine and working from home, I was in charge of my time, and now the tables have been turned on me and this only adds to my stress. Especially since I’m worried about missing my first big meeting back. I'm gradually drowning under the air conditioning, anger and my own impatience.
50 minutes, and 5 real smiles later
After 50 minutes of endless changes on the subway, I finally made it through the turnstiles. Sweaty, stressed and almost on the verge of tears, yep, this is definitely not how I imagined my return to the office. I walk through the door of the open space, anxious and discouraged, but what do I see?
😃 😃 😃 😃 😃 5 smiles welcoming me and waiting for me at the coffee machine. Divine colleagues! Finally, a discussion, and a real one at that. We're all talking at the same time and after months of only seeing faces on Zoom, I can finally see them all full-length. This vision delights me and makes me laugh. Who would have thought that we would forget that our colleagues have bodies too?!
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Meeting - 1 Concentration - 0
Finally, the stress of the departure, the nervousness of the journey and the anxiety of the meeting were quickly swept away. Although, one important thing remains and that’s that I am here to work, but working with so many people around is now alien to me. I look to the right, to the left, someone is talking at the back of the office, I also hear a laugh and through the window I see a bus passing by with an ad for sandwich bread. Am I already hungry? Let me try and write an article... I have to write an article. Think, think! Oh, but my feet hurt, how long has it been since I haven’t worked in shoes?
In short, the rest of the day passed by quickly with lively meetings and coffees. In the office, as with everywhere else, things have pretty much stayed the same, yet, they're still different!
Have I lost some of my humanity?
Things that used to be normal, that I used to put up with, like crowded subways journeys, or someone taking ages to buy their coffee, are now things that seem unbearable to me. Being at home for such a long time has made me appreciate the things I’ve missed and those that are essential. Seeing people I get along with was great, but I certainly missed being in the comfort of my own home, far from the hassles of the outside world.
🤗 I've probably lost some patience and tolerance, but I've gained in serenity, calmness and jubilation. So to conclude, going back to the office isn’t so bad... but I’m not ready to face it every day!
Editorial opinion: Don't let anxiety set in
The different quarantine periods have left their mark, and going back to the office and seeing people can create anxiety in many of us. If you feel that the lifting of the health restrictions is causing you a lot of stress, you should not hesitate to contact a psychologist.
🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!
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