As vaccines roll out across the globe, more and more offices are opening up — or making plans to in the near future. That’s good news for people who are eager to get back to their desks. But what about people who are anxious about returning to in-person work, or (like me) feel conflicted? Maybe they have health issues that would put them at risk (even with broad vaccine adoption). Or they’ve got caretaking responsibilities that prevent them from going in. Perhaps they’ve found that they’re happier and more productive working at home, or they had a long commute they’re content to no longer endure.
As a manager how do you help people manage their return-to-work anxiety? Should you be nudging them to return if that’s what your company’s leadership wants? And if they’re worried that their career will be impacted if they need to keep working from home, should you assure them it won’t?
This is uncharted territory for all us, especially managers. So I reached out to several experts who study the role of middle managers and compassion at work to ask what they’d advise.
They all agree that there are, of course, upsides and downsides for everyone. As Jane Dutton, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and coauthor of Awakening Compassion at Work, says, “For some people, the return to routines and seeing colleagues can be very healing.” And for others, they just aren’t ready.
Read the full article at Havard Business Review.