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Addressing anxiety in the return to work following the Covid-19 pandemic

04 September 2020

How to ease concerns and anxiety about the return to work following the Covid-19 pandemic for both employees and employers is the focus of new guidance from the British Psychological Society.

As Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are relaxed and, in some cases temporarily re-introduced, people will experience different emotions, whether returning to workplaces after furlough or a period of remote working, or continuing to work in the same setting as they did during lockdown.

The new BPS guidance - ‘Covid-19 related anxiety and distress in the workplace: A guide for employers and employees’ - provides practical steps and ideas for creating healthy, sustainable workplaces.

It uses a psychologically informed approach called SHARE, developed for the guidance to help employers and employees deal with Covid-19 related anxiety and distress, as well as adapt and thrive in the new ways of working.

SHARE stands for:

  1. SAFE working: Assessing risk in the workplace
  2. HELP yourself and others: Communicating and meeting needs
  3. ADAPT to change: Diverse workplace situations and adjusting to the ‘new normal’
  4. RELIEVE the pressure: Helping yourself and others to adapt and cope
  5. EVALUATE: Review the situation regularly to ensure ongoing success

Janet Fraser, chair of the BPS’ Working Differently task group who produced the guidance said:

“Each employee has their own concerns regarding their work or personal experience

 Feeling worried, uncomfortable or anxious is understandable in a situation that is changing and uncertain.

These are common and normal responses.

Our guidance provides steps for individual employees and employers to deal with these feelings, manage the transition into new ways of working, and look after wellbeing and performance in the immediate and long term.”


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