While many have transitioned to working from home, some are still going into the office. If you are considered essential staff, then you too might be required to go into work. The uncertainty and stress surrounding these times might have hindered your motivation for doing so. You may wonder how seriously others are following safety protocol, and as a result, just the thought of going to the office leaves you with anxiety.
The thought of putting your health — and the health of others — at risk can be very stressful. Even with safety protocols in place, these unique circumstances could be creating the perfect storm for relapse. Thankfully, there are ways that you can outfit your office to alleviate the amount of stress you are experiencing.
Create a Clean Environment
Cleaning surfaces will go a long way in protecting you from unwanted germs. If your place of business does not supply you with the necessary cleaning supplies, bring your own. Sanitary wipes, disinfectant sprays, hand sanitizer, and even your preferred soap to wash your hands will help you protect against germs from others, such as maintenance or staff that might have entered your space over the weekend.
You will want to spray down door handles, tabletops, light switches, drawer handles, phones, pens, pencils, your mouse, and your keyboard — anything you need to access regularly should be cleaned.
Attack your office as though it has not been cleaned. Do not use the same paper towel to clean everything.
You can even wear disposable gloves for an added layer of protection while you clean — but much like the paper towels, do not wear the same gloves to keep reopening drawers. Also, use a stairwell instead of an elevator. If you must use an elevator, try to board when there is nobody else on, and remember to use gloves or wash hands after touching the buttons.
Dress for Safety
A mask can go a long way in protecting you, although they are most effective when everybody wears one. Be sure to confirm that the rules of the office are established and agreed upon by all of your co-workers. Safety and someone else’s opinion are two different things.
Safety should always come first, so do not hesitate to alert your employer or Human Resources if someone is not following the rules. If you decide to wear gloves, just remember that you might need to change them throughout the day, such as when you have lunch or use the phone.
This might be tricky if you work on a retail floor and must rely on patrons to follow protocol. Most places of business are enforcing safe distance measures by providing floor markers and plexiglass walls to protect employees from the foot traffic that comes in. For another safety measure if you are in close quarters with people, not only should you wear a mask, but you can protect your eyes as well.
Goggles are said to be the best way to protect the eyes because they reduce the amount of air that can enter into an eye. You will want to be mindful of the number of times you adjust them, especially if you are not used to eyewear.
Move Your Desk
If you work on an office floor, be sure to understand the rules of social distancing and make sure these rules are being enforced. You will want to work at least six feet apart. Do not share equipment, and consider putting place markers around your desk to ensure that people understand where the distance barrier is.
If you are still experiencing anxiety, ask your employer if you can move your desk to another area that is remote from the rest of your co-workers. You might even suggest staggering your work schedules to reduce the number of co-workers you might come into contact with. Most employers understand that times are uncertain, so they may be accommodating and even sensitive to your needs — so do not be afraid to ask.
Finally, if nothing will help ease your mind, it is time to look for compromise. First, talk with your primary care doctor and your therapist about how you feel and explain that your anxiety is hindering your productivity. They might offer alternative suggestions or provide you a note that confirms the seriousness of how you are feeling.
Next, work something out with your employer. Whether it’s changing your schedule to come into the office when few people are there or working from home, make it clear to your employer that you can produce more efficient work when these needs are met.
If you work in a market, ask to stock shelves in an overnight shift, or opt to do hands-free delivery — this way you can ease your mind knowing that you are getting as little contact with people as possible. Again, because these are unique times, you and your employer should be able to reach common ground.
Recovery Comes First
You should never be afraid or feel ashamed to speak up. You feel how you feel and you should not need to suffer to spare your employer. If your recovery depends on it, then it should not even be a question. Everybody is trying to navigate these times as best they can. Your concerns might even provide enlightenment to your employer that leads to a new office practice providing the safety they need to operate at this time.
Do not sit with your anxieties and wait for them to pass. They will only grow bigger. If you need some encouragement, talk with your therapist, friends, and family and they are likely to give you the encouragement needed to speak up. Your employer should never dictate how you view, feel, or care for your health. Your sobriety and your health are yours.
Everybody’s anxiety is elevated right now. If you are struggling to gain control over your feelings, it’s time to get help. True Recovery understands that these times are likely some of the hardest you have ever faced in your recovery. We offer 24/7 care to help you find a resolution that gets you back on track to maintaining your recovery. To learn more, call us at (866) 399-6528.