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People will need to sort of readjusting to a very high-stimulus environment again. Pixabay

College professor Ravi Gajendran taught his classes remotely for months until Florida International University asked him to return to the office in preparation for the eventual resumption of normal operations.

“Just changing your routine involves some amount of cognitive effort,” says Gajendran. “I was so comfortable just getting up from bed and going over to my computer, setting it on and having a bath whenever I wanted, not having to dress up, not having to iron my clothes, and not having to worry about commuting.”


As chair of the Department of Global Leadership and Management in the College of Business, Gajendran did a significant amount of administrative work remotely as well.

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“Many of these things that were taken for granted for a year now have to change, and so people need to adjust the routines. And every time people are changing routines, it’s not so simple as turning on a switch,” he says. “It’s an adjustment. Yes, I do feel more tired at the end of it all.”

Now that half of all U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of Americans who’ve worked from home during the pandemic are starting to wonder if they’ll be called back to the office anytime soon.

It’s a switch-up that comes at a time when many are already experiencing higher-than-normal feelings of stress and anxiety.


People are going to have anxiety around picking the commute back up, getting into their routine, getting accustomed to the new protocol in their offices. Pixabay

“We have folks who are struggling. People don’t like change. Many people currently are very isolated. Many are scared of the virus, of the possibility of contracting and passing it along to others,” says Kristen Carpenter, a chief psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Organizational psychologist Cathleen Swody expects that transitioning back to the office will be more challenging than switching to full-time telework at the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.

“People are going to have anxiety around picking the commute back up, getting into their routine, getting accustomed to the new protocol in their offices, working with people who have a different view of the virus, and maybe take different precautions or fewer precautions,” says Swody, director of assessment at Thrive Leadership.

She also anticipates some concerns related to interactions with coworkers and supervisors.

“I also think we’re going to see more social anxiety because as we’ve been working from home some social skills have eroded since we’re not used to making small talk in person anymore,” she says. “I think there’s going to be a lot of awkwardness and some strain related to that as people get back into the office and see people after this time of isolation.”

In the short term, people might also be dealing with sensory overload.


Individuals’ thought processes and how they organize their lives can have an effect on how they manage to return to work. Pixabay

“People will need to sort of readjusting to a very high-stimulus environment again, where there are all the sounds, smells and sights and all that, of the office place, and of the commute, and the traffic,” says Timothy Golden, a professor of management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “It may be a little bit of a sensory adjustment period in the very short term until people get reacclimated to being in a work environment with many different people, in many different sounds and activities around them.”

But studies show that some people will welcome a return to the office.

“That’s particularly true for our younger workers, our Gen Z’s, and millennials,” says Carpenter. “They want to come back in the office, at least part of the time, in part because it does offer such great social opportunity and social connection. So, for those who are feeling isolated, the prospect of coming back to the workplace might be a very good thing.”

A person’s thought processes and how they organize their life could also impact how individuals handle returning to their workplace.

ALSO READ: Reason Behind India’s Massive Covid Surge

“Some people prefer what’s known as segmentation, where they prefer to have their work separated from their family, mentally as well as physically,” Golden says. “But some people are what’s known as integrators, where they prefer to have their work intermixed with their family life.”

While a great deal of uncertainty still surrounds the topic, the experts agree that a return to the office won’t be as simple as flipping a switch, which means that employers will have a role to play in easing workers through the transition.

“Hopefully, their employers will give them a reasonably long lead time and some kind of the flexible return to the office,” Carpenter says. “And that certainly is advice I would give to employers implementing a return to work — be flexible to accommodate, as best you can, people’s differential needs.” (VOA/KB)


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Books that you can read in 2022.

Reading allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the world around you, stimulating your creativity and keeping your mind engaged.

A list of new releases published by Aleph:

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life?: How to Flourish in Our Turbulent Times

Many causes, including technology, climate change, demographics, and inequality, will cause our planet to change more in this century than in all of human history. Extreme change is offering unparalleled opportunities for individuals, companies, and society, as well as a 'adaptive challenge.' Those who can adapt to a fast-paced, complex, dynamic, and unpredictably changing world will prosper. Those who are unable to do so will suffer immensely.

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There are obvious signals that we need new ways of thinking about the world and our place in it all over the place. Our old ways of thinking about education, lifestyle, success, and happiness are no longer valid. What are the changes in the workplace? When future jobs are still being invented, how can you know what talents will be useful? Will 'jobs' even exist in the future, or will we be relegated to a world of projects and freelance work? What do you do with all of this and more?

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life? is a book on figuring out what you want to do with your life. Ravi Venkatesan argues that effective adaptation in the twenty-first century necessitates a "paradigm shift," a new attitude, new talents, and new techniques. Ravi also considers how, rather than drifting along like a piece of driftwood, we will need to live life more consciously, making deliberate decisions about who we are, what we do, and how we live.

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Neeraj Chopra: From Panipat to The Podium

On the night of August 7, 2021, a billion Indians' long-held desire came true as Neeraj Chopra won gold in the javelin in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The wait, on the other hand, had been extremely long. In reality, this is India's first individual gold medal in athletics since the modern Olympic Games began. The entire country showered him with affection when he did it in his signature flair and smile. The media went crazy, and the youth discovered a new source of inspiration. People flocked to get their photos taken with him, and businesses discovered a new wonder-ambassador. Neeraj Chopra: I'm Neeraj Chopra, and I'm From Panipat to the Podium begins in a small village in Panipat and tells the story of his formative years, which were marked by restricted resources and opportunities. It takes readers through his journey to Panchkula and then to the national camp in his quest to conquer the world.

My Cricket Hero: XII Indians on their XII favourite Cricketers

Pieces from Keki Daruwalla on Polly Umrigar, Fredun De Vitre on Chandu Borde, Gulu Ezekiel on Eknath Solkar, Hemant Kenkre on Sunil Gavaskar, Amrit Mathur on Salim Durani, Kersi Meher-Homji on Vijay Hazare and many more make for a great lockdown read.

It's A Wonderful World: A Memoir

His book is a provocative read that makes us wish we had a life like his. Khalid Ansari's life has been an exciting and purposeful journey in service to his fellow human beings, beginning with his birth in Mumbai's impoverished Madanpura to a father who began his life as an orphan and a mother from a poor household. Ansari has attempted to depict some highlights of a splendored life that he has been lucky to experience, catching stars while chasing rainbows in this 'donkey's tale'. It's been la vie en rose for him, from founding newspapers and magazines to representing his country at the United Nations, accompanying dignitaries on state visits, covering cricket Test matches, nine Olympics, Commonwealth and Asian Games, travelling the world, and being awarded the Padma Shri award. The author has worked hard to keep this narrative from devolving into a 'I-did-this-did-that' pat-on-the-back, shabash!' By 'spicing' it up with dollops of frothy stories and self-critical bon mots, he has attempted a discourse on the meaning of life, the 'right path,' and the like, even as he has attempted a discourse on the purpose of life, the 'right route,' and the like.

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