Do you Suffer from Return-phobia?

Tips to Ease Anxiety for Back to the Office Return

Survey after survey indicates employees working remotely due to the pandemic are hesitant to return back to the office. Digital wellness expert, Mark Ostach said employees may be suffering from what he calls “Return-Phobia”, heightened social anxiety from leaving the comfort and routine of working at home as they return back into an office. More accurately known as adjustment disorder, this is an emotional or behavioural reaction to a stressful event or change in a person’s life. 

Ostach recommended that remote employees give themselves compassion and patience as going back to the office is similar to the first day of school. 

“The best way for employees to deal with adjustment disorder is to own the awkwardness,” Ostach said. “Also, give yourself quiet time before going to work, either at home or during your commute.”

Ostach, author of  Courage to Connect™, works with business leadership to create a culture of connection in a hybrid workplace. According to Ostach, it may be a challenge to get employees back to the office:

  • Employees have adjusted to working from home and maybe experiencing heightened social anxiety about going back to an office.
  • Remote employees enjoy the benefits of going for a quick walk, doing laundry or not having to commute to work.
  • The key to helping employees adjust back to the office is offering flexibility.

Tips to Transition into the Office:

Ostach offered the following tips for employees dealing with lingering anxiety:

  • Ask for what they need. Don’t conceal what you need to reveal to your employer.
  • Fresh Air and Movement. Just because you are going to the office, make time for fresh air and movement. When you need it not, when your calendar says you need it.
  • Don’t forget to talk to one another. Break the ice with conversation. 

Want to learn more about Return-phobia?

Ostach is available to discuss these issues and others related to remote work, hybrid workplace, creating healthy digital habits at work and home, reducing employer and employee burnout through stress reduction techniques, helping increase productivity and discovering additional resources for organizations to become digitally fit. 

About Mark Ostach

Ostach’s goal is to restore energy and focus to organizations battling modern life’s non-stop pace and growing sense of disconnection. He’s done this with organizations that include Universal Studios, Detroit Pistons, Rocket Mortgage, Comerica, Detroit Regional Partnership, DTE, Consumers, Michigan Economic Development Corp (MEDC), & Honigman, LLP, Thermo Fisher Scientific, BASF, Allstate, HItachi, and others.

Digital Wellness Expert Mark Ostach in the News: