Working from the Office Again? Here’s How to Manage that Uneasiness
Some office workspaces have returned to in-person work again, and that is leaving a number of workers anxious, stressed and ashamed of their sanitation efforts—or lack thereof. Here’s how to manage that anxiety, and how to talk to your employer.
Believe it or not, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. With cases rising, no vaccine and the high health stakes, in the face of a disaster like this, even elaborate and extensive safety and health protective measures can feel insufficient. In an office with minimal ventilation, shared surfaces and close quarters, masks and hand sanitizer might not be enough.
What should you do if you are working from the office again and feel uneasy about it? What if other workers are not fully covering their face, or wearing a mask in shared areas? What if your employer is asking you to come in, and giving you no option of working from home? What if you are a new employee and feel uneasy about asking for accommodations? One Atlantic article has some tips for you.
Alison Green, the HR expert who gives advice at Ask a Manager, recently shared her tips for workers being asked to return to the office unnecessarily. You can:
- Point out that your competitors are not being asked to return to the office
- Ask your bosses about how they are planning for people who must take public transportation
- Ask how they are complying with every CDC recommendation listed here
- If you are high risk of serious complications from COVID-19, you can request remote work as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (but keep in mind that not every situation is covered by the ADA).
For some workers, going to work and braving the risks seems like their only option. Many would lose much needed salaries and health insurance if they do not come into work and lose their jobs.
But for others, the job is not work the risk. Some workers, who can afford the choice, feel they would rather lose their job and struggle with unemployment than go into work and risk getting sick.
It is important to remember that as a worker, your safety and health matters. Luckily, there are ways to approach these conversations with your employers and come to a collaborative decision.