As the pandemic continues, unemployment rates have begun to decrease. According to the Bureau of Labor, as of November 2021, the unemployment rate was at 4.2 percent. So, if you are back to work after being unemployed for some time due to COVID-19, you may feel like you see tiny rays of light at the end of a very long tunnel.
Before you give in to the excitement of returning to work, there are a few details you need to handle first. These are a few of the things you’ll want to do as you return to the workplace after a prolonged unemployment period.
Getting Off Unemployment
If you were among the millions of Americans receiving unemployment compensation while unemployed, now is the time to notify your state authority that you no longer require the assistance. Each state has different policies and procedures to go through when returning to work.
The key is getting the right information from your state agency to avoid any penalties, fees, and fines if you receive additional payments beyond what is necessary.
Getting Back into a Daily Routine
You might be returning to a familiar office space (working for the same organization, for instance) or working somewhere completely new and different. In either case, your office landscape may look completely different due to increased COVID-19 safety precautions many employers are taking to help protect their employees and customers.
Getting back into a daily routine often begins before you even get in your car to go to work. Chances are you have a few days or even weeks to prepare.
- Begin getting up and preparing as if you were going to work every weekday. This gets you in a routine of waking up on time.
- Start meal prepping and planning so that you are not overwhelmed with the process when you return to work.
- If you are a parent, begin waking your children up and getting them in a routine for your return to work and how it will affect them.
- Have a nighttime routine to prepare for the following day at the office. That includes preparing breakfast and lunch, making sure all devices are fully charged and ready to go, and ensuring you have all the articles of clothing you need for your “day at the office.”
Creating good habits like this ahead of your return to work helps you ease into the transition.
Dealing with Stress at Work
Concerns about COVID-19 have most Americans feeling a bit more stressed than usual.
Coping with stress in a healthy, constructive way is essential for a successful transition back to work. These tips can help.
- Identify the things that trigger or increase your stress level. When these instances occur, take a moment, when possible, to relieve stress with simple activities such as deep breathing, squeezing a stress ball, talking a walk, or counting to ten.
- Look to develop healthier responses to stress. Practicing meditation, yoga, preparing healthy meals, family game night, or escaping between the pages of a novel, are great ways to manage self-care..
- Make time to relax and recharge daily. This is important. You need to take a little “you” time every day when you can absorb the positive events of the day and let go of the ones that cause you the most stress.
Little things can make a huge difference in stress levels. See if you can turn things around for yourself and others.
Returning to work is a very exciting time and doing these things to be prepared can help ease the transition.
- Taking care of your unemployment benefits
- Easing into a workday routine
- Minimizing stress and learning healthy ways to handle it when it appears.