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Going back to work – the ‘new normal’

If you’ve been working from home during Covid-19 or have been temporarily unemployed but are now returning to work, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

A large number of Aussies have either lost their jobs or had their hours reduced since April[1] and while this is devastating for those who are affected, those of us who are returning to work also have some real concerns.

With the pandemic starting to abate, many businesses are slowly introducing ways for staff to return to work – but with changed conditions. Fewer people will be back in their workplace or office, some will continue to work from home,  while others will have different ‘shifts’ to maintain social distancing and reduce the possibility of community infection.

Welcome to the ‘new normal’

For some of us, the thought of returning to our workplace is something to look forward to: getting a ‘real’ coffee from the café near work, trading our trackie pants for work clothes and catching up with colleagues face to face, without staring down the barrel of a computer screen.

But for others, the prospect of getting up early, mixing it with strangers on public transport and returning to regular work routines is a bit daunting.

If this is you, don’t worry – you’re not alone. There are things you can do to get back to nearly-normal:

  1. Take it easy and don’t be too hard on yourself. Gradually reintroduce routines into your life. Think about what you enjoy about work and focus on what it helps you to achieve: financial security, planning for holidays and using your brain to do what you’re trained for.
  2.  Get some air and exercise. Hop off the bus or train one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. It will help clear your mind before you get to work and wear off some of those calories you might have gained during Covid!
  3.  Reconnect with your colleagues. Take the opportunity to catch up with your workmates (who may also be your buddies) and build on the relationships you already have to share your experiences and support one another during this time of adjustment.
  4. Reach out: If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and it’s not something you feel you can talk to your boss, friends or family about, seek help from a professional who is trained in how to deal with your mixed emotions. For free, urgent advice contact Lifeline or Beyond Blue.
  5. Look for new opportunities: When you return to work you may not feel the same about your job as you did before. Consider talking to your boss about another role which may better suit your skills and experience. Or apply for a course you could study that interests you and  help you broaden your horizons.

Whatever strategies you use to survive the ‘new normal’, just make sure they work for you. This pandemic won’t be around forever and we will all get through this challenging time – with the help of family, friends and workmates.

And if you’ve got any questions about your super or your finances, feel free to call your local member services manager or our Contact Centre, so we can help you with concerns around your financial wellbeing.


[1] https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/6202.0Main%20Features5Jun%202020?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=6202.0&issue=Jun%202020&num=&view=