How to get to grips with office politics after lockdown

3 min read

Just as you start adjusting to the perks and challenges of working or furlough at home, the playing field changes again. With lockdowns lifting and employees returning to offices, here’s a look at how to overcome the stressful office politics.

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Politics and Pandemic Stress in the Office

Office politics can cause tension whether you’re personally involved or just watching on the sidelines. Surveys suggest that around a third of employees dread going into the office because of their fellow colleagues, whilst a fifth of workers consider their manager to be the worst aspect of their job.

When you’ve been out of the loop for a while, it’s natural to feel apprehensive about returning to the office. It will require a period of adjustment, especially with new coronavirus precautions and protocols in place. With nerves already on edge in this heightened state of pandemic fear and anxiety, the smallest of niggles at work could be felt all the more.

Empathetic Encounters

It’s good to get an idea of what others have been through, as understanding and empathy can dampen building frustrations. Reflect on how the office situation makes you feel. Read the room and think before you act.

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Quelling Tensions

Everyone has an opinion on the pandemic and the way it’s being handled. If you find yourself being roped into a heated debate, try to remove yourself from the situation and let the colleague(s) know that you don’t wish to discuss it or be involved. If opinionated individuals continue to provoke argument and discord, quietly have a word with HR.

Compassionate & Non-competitive Communication

Communications with management and between co-workers should be warm and open-minded, ensuring that each person feels validated and taken seriously. Keep in mind that everyone has had different experiences of the pandemic and there should be no competition in terms of who had things better or worse.

What Employers Can Do

Employees should feel safe and comfortable in their workplace. Furniture should be hygienic and up-to-task, so it might be time to update the workstations with next day delivery office desks that can be bought online whilst the rest of the office gets a deep-clean.

Employers need to ensure that staff are well-informed with open lines of honest communication. They should understand what measures the company is taking and what rules they need to comply with.

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