Local expert weighs in on anxiety, stress some may feel about returning to the office

PHLADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As society closes in on the 14-month mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the "new normals" many have become adjusted to maybe shifting.

With millions of Americans getting vaccinated for COVID-19, some businesses are now bringing employees back to the office.

For many, the idea is causing stress and anxiety.

"The prospect for many people of going back to the office, if they've been home for the better part of a year, is really intimidating," said Kristen Carpenter, a psychologist. "I think it's difficult for employees thinking about coming back, but it's also difficult for managers, businesses, and for employers to kind of figure out the logistics of this."

Carpenter says many people still struggle with the uncertainty of the pandemic and fears of the virus and adds the anxiety of simply seeing co-workers again after more than a year of isolation.

"I think it makes a great deal of sense for people to start to understand their own needs," she said. "Really take stock of how they're feeling and to work with their managers, if they can, on a more flexible gradual return."

If you're getting ready to head back to work, but you haven't been out much in the past year, she suggests starting to do so slowly and safely.

And while heading back to the office may seem daunting, she adds that, in the end, this could be a good thing for many as things start to feel a little more normal.
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