Is Your Workplace Fit For Employees’ Post-Lockdown Anxiety?

Is Your Workplace Fit For Employees’ Post-Lockdown Anxiety?

Employers are adapting to their doors being open to staff, as well as the general public.

What should they do to reduce employees suffering extreme anxiety pre and post their return to work?

Battling Anxiety

Zana Busby, from Retail Reflections, is an experienced consumer and business psychologist. She spoke to Wallsauce as part of their research into the relationship between office design and mental health following the COVID-19 crisis.

She says that employers need to be realistic in expecting many of their staff to feel a mixture of fear, anxiety and trepidation about returning to work.

“Following the long period of isolation and returning to a new workplace that looks different, with erected protective screens, colleagues in face coverings, for example, will require a period of readjustment,” Zana says.

“Those with existing mental health challenges before the pandemic will have heightened sensitivity, particularly to the behaviour of their co-workers, their hygiene level, practising social distancing (which, in some places, might be impossible) and observing other safety measures”

Zana Busby, Retail Reflections

As a result, employers need to ensure the mental wellbeing of their workers is a priority.

Zana has one helpful tip for those who want to do more to create a positive atmosphere in newly-populated workplaces.

Positive Workplaces

“The psychological response to visually vibrant workspaces has always been accentuated – but even more so now,” Zana explains.

“Any opportunity to convey positive messaging and imagery in order to lessen the emotional impact and anxiety of returning to work, and to integrate people back into the working environment should be taken”

Zana Busby, Retail Reflections

“Images of nature, birds and flowers, in particular, combined with placing live plants in the office, stimulate the senses and improve mood,” continues Zana.

“A simple change in scenery can go a long way.”

Workplace Psychology

Rachel Kenny, Studio Manager at Wallsauce, comments, “It’s never been more important for businesses of all shapes and sizes to consider how their workplace affects their staff’s psychology and morale.”

“The office, or wherever work is carried out in person, now represents something completely different compared to just a few months ago. It is now a place that will be synonymous with fear and anxiety for many.”

Considering simple decoration and design principles is one small step that employers can take in order to have a big positive effect on their employees’ mental health,” Rachel concludes.

Property Aspects Magazine thanks Zana Busby and Rachel Kenny for their insights.