Talking anxiety around returning to work

Addressing ways to adopt a “new normal” is high on the agenda at the moment, but also addressing how we may be feeling during this time is important, too. 

The news that estate agents are able to begin returning to work is still pretty fresh, and as it is Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to use this blog post as an opportunity to address the anxiety which many agents may be feeling about going back to work, and ways to tackle this.

We can all relate to feeling somewhat nervous when it comes to doing something new. 

Often, going back to work after some time away doesn’t feel like doing something new. However, for many of us, going back to work now will feel like this as we continue to navigate a “new normal” and make adjustments to the activities which we were so used to carrying out on a daily basis before the impact of Covid-19. 

For many estate agents, the recent news that going back to work is now being encouraged may have come with a sense of uncertainty, a list of concerns, and nervousness for the weeks ahead. While these feelings can be overwhelming, they are totally normal to feel, especially at a time like this. 

None of us have worked through a time like this before, so it’s completely understandable that the situation might be feeling slightly alien and potentially causing some anxiety as a result. When something is unfamiliar to us, it’s natural to feel wary about it. 

There is no textbook or clear roadmap that outlines how long feelings of anxiety may last for, but taking each day and week as it comes and implementing appropriate strategies to fit along the way can help when it comes to handling any anxiety you may have. 

Address each concern individually, talk to others and create reassurance 

Going back to the office after many weeks of working from home or being on furlough is not going to be as easy as flicking a switch, especially when there are new circumstances and ways of working to consider. Managing your expectations and handling things bit by bit can make the process feel less overwhelming than if you were to try and tackle each part of the process immediately with an unrealistic quick-fix approach. Establishing a “new normal” will take time, and that’s ok. 

Approaching one concern at a time and formulating a plan to best tackle each of them can help you to alleviate some of the anxiety you might be feeling around different aspects of returning to work. 

Whether travelling in to work, being around multiple people again, or just being as safe as possible in your activities is causing you to worry, it is likely that your colleagues will have similar concerns, too. Speaking to them and sharing your thoughts will allow you to find ways of making each other feel as comfortable as possible. 

Being sensitive to other people’s anxiety also runs true with your clients. 

Once you are clear on the ways you will be approaching your work, make sure to communicate this with your clients too. Sharing the message that you are taking precautions to ensure people can buy, sell, rent and let safely with you will help build trust and reassurance for everyone involved. 

Focus on what you can control 

Figuring out a “new normal” won’t happen overnight, it’s a process. 

Preparing yourself as much as possible for returning to work safely, and focusing on the things you have control over, can help ground your thoughts and allow you to approach things rationally and with more clarity.  

Taking control of the practical aspects of going back to work can help you feel more prepared. For example, ensure that you have a mask and gloves available in the different places you may need them such as in your car and in the office. Knowing that you have necessary protection to hand at all times in all the places you may need them will help you to feel reassured during different parts of your day. 

While things might still feel uncertain, try to remove as many unknown parts of your day as possible. Simple ways to do this include preparing the times you’ll be going to work, and pre-planning any physical appointments which cannot be had online.   

Continue to develop a “new normal” 

Even though some restrictions around going back to work have been slightly lifted, it doesn’t mean we should completely forget some of the new ways of working which may have been adopted over the last few weeks.

Making sure you are continuing to follow advice and guidelines will ensure you are doing what you can to keep you and the people around you safe, and in turn will help you feel more confident about going back to work. 

Continuing to do online viewings and valuations where possible, and having a sufficient supply of masks, gloves, hand sanitisers and surface cleaners, and staggering limited appointments for people who may need to visit your branch are all ways you can continue to protect yourself and your clients. 

As things continue to change and you continue to adjust, keep consulting your plan and make appropriate changes to your practices so you can feel prepared to handle different circumstances.

Planning ahead where you can will help you to feel a sense of control and reduce some uncertainty.   

Keep doing your best 

Remind yourself that you are doing your best. Navigating a “new normal” will take time, and as you continue to adapt and approach your concerns, they will become easier to manage. 

Remember that you are not alone in your uncertainty, and that talking to those around you is essential for creating reassurance. Discussing what is on our minds is important, not only during Mental Health Awareness Week, but always.