Return to the office during illness? Here is some help

March 28, 2022 – Like millions of Americans, Ken Todd, a 53 -year -old sales manager in New York City, left the office when he contracted the disease and set up a store in New York City. home. Now he is preparing to return, planning to get back on the train to go to work for his company.

This time, President Joe Biden told the nation in his March 1 State of the Union speech, to “replenish our major cities”, saying it would be safe for people to return to their homes. office.

Not everyone agrees with that idea, and there are many reasons.

Todd didn’t object, but he agreed to “approach this with good intentions.” The former marathon runner was a longtime COVID after contracting the disease in January 2021, before receiving vaccines for his years in New York City. His energy level is not close to what it used to be. He’s making a long list of symptoms, with a balance problem that weakens him when he looks long at the computer screen.

Others said they didn’t actually work at home and needed to be monitored regularly. As a single agent tweeted: “Not to let anyone’s yum go, but why are so many people so excited to go back to the office that they are bothered by those of us who are doing well from home? trouble. What is it? “

Another said: “Can journalists take the words ‘back to work’ and ‘back to normal’ from their work?” seeing those people have been work and that “back to normal” is a terrible word to use.

Others find it difficult to provide a better work-life balance while working from home, even with animals and children falling out of Zoom meetings.

Clearly, returning to the workplace will not play out as “normal” as it did before illness, say doctors and health professionals. But workers and employees can take steps to increase safety, reduce sick time at work, and eliminate anxiety.


First, do a “gut check,” thinks Susan Albers, PsyD, a medical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “When they ask you to come back, what’s your first reaction? It’s, ‘Great!’ or, ‘No’? “

Then, he said, try to figure out the reason for your answer.

That’s probably the way to call, at least in part. In general, he says, his patients introverts “love home. Extroverts really struggle.”

But most of the employees, who are standing on their way back to work, probably need to do their best and try to see some of Todd’s “smart mindset”.

In a new study, researchers selected more than 3,900 people who worked from home during an illness. They found that those who were reluctant to return to their workplaces, compared with those who did not return immediately, were more likely to be ill. their workplace and more pessimistic about the problems associated with working from home.

The researchers believed that “motivated optimism” was at play. They explained to people how to minimize future challenges to take care of their anxiety.

Others, including Todd, are trying to prevent illness or recurrence.

“I can’t get sick anymore,” she said, not after months of learning how to navigate her long list of symptoms. In addition to balance problems and extreme fatigue, he has brain fog, which is now improving, and heat intolerance, unable to endure the New York summer. She is participating in a post-COVID-19 rehabilitation program and wants to continue moving forward.

Assessing individual problems

Before returning, staff should evaluate their health status, family members, and their endurance, said Leana Wen, MD, a trauma doctor and medical doctor in George. Washington University in Washington, DC.

“If the people in their home are fully occupied, advanced, and healthy, they have a much lower risk of coronavirus -related illness. And they’re sick, that’s a different idea,” he said.

It’s also important to evaluate your acceptance of the problem, says Wen.

“A lot of people now say they think going back to work before they get sick is more of a risk of contracting the coronavirus, especially if it’s vaccinated and exaggerated. them, they are more likely to have normalcy, ”he said.

But “there are concerns about the long -term COVID and the possibility of passing COVID on to others,” he said. “That’s why people decide what’s best for them, given their health status and their assessment of the problem.”

For those who are worried, even if they are in an office where masks are not required, he recommends keeping them on. One -way masking with a high -end mask – N95, KN95, or KN94 – provides the best protection, he said.

Keep in mind that medications can be very helpful. Those who were arrested and increased were three to five times less likely to be infected with the coronavirus, compared to those who were not arrested, he said.

For safety, he said, employers should tell employees how to take care of them. If they are not, you need to ask so you can decide what to keep.

Guidance for workers

Employers can look for a variety of resources to help them better manage employees and the workplace – and employees can find that guide online.

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has published standard and professional guidelines. The company provides advice on testing, quarantining, and vaccines, said Tanisha Taylor, MD, director of the Return-to-Work Work Group.

The National Safety Council offers SAFER, Safe Actions for Employee Returns, a working group to help workers create safe workplaces after an illness. In May 2021, the council released leaders on issues related to climate change policies, air conditioning, flexible working plans, and other issues.

In surveys conducted between June and August 2021, with responses from 300 employees and 3,785 people, the court found:

  • The number of laid -off workers increased by 35% if workers wanted the medicine.
  • Customers want to go to businesses where employees are hired.

Employers can use vaccine requirements among their employees to achieve a high level of “community immunity.”
Surveyors also found that most workers did not want to return to the private sector.

Eliminate anxiety

Employers can allay concerns by keeping employees informed about care. Todd praises his profession for “doing well in preparing us” and for actively promoting medicine because most of his co -workers are recruited. Of course, he said, “I told my colleagues before that I would use an N95 mask in the office.”

Getting back to normal, if possible, could help, experts say. Todd’s team will be following a hybrid program for the first time, keeping some days as a do-from-home.

While some jobs are required in the office – an all -inclusive organization, for example – employees can decide if they have an option, for example, to access by phone from a separate room, he said. Wen.

Even if employees have to attend a general meeting, they can choose to skip the cafeteria for lunch, he said.

And “you don’t have to go to a happy hour on a shoulder pad with people,” he said. “It’s better to say no, especially in election conditions.”

Another concern comes from the uncertainty about returning to “normal,” says Cheryl Procter-Rogers, a counselor in Chicago. These days, he hears concern from customers.

“Someone said to me, ‘How do I know a person is locked up on that side of the table?'” He said.

That’s one of the many situations that employees need to think about how to fix, he said.

Some worries about business or social problems, says Procter-Rogers, include not wanting to return to their jobs, even if it means giving up some of the benefits that people enjoy. at home.

Some customers told her they were used to looking for their friends in the middle of the workday and saying a quick vacation.

“Those moments enhanced the relationship,” he said. “Some are wondering if they want to leave that.”

Whatever the cause of anxiety, simple things like physical activity can help, says Procter-Rogers. “It’s important to have people they can talk to,” she said, whether it’s a friend, a husband, a mentor, or a doctor.

Getting help, as Todd knew it. She has joined an educational, research, and advocacy group for information and support. He was so grateful for the help that he asked how he could get it back.

“They said,‘ The best thing you can do is tell your story. ’” He said. “It helps my mental health and it helps me feel better,” Todd says.

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