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30 Mar, Thursday
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5 Tips For Getting Used To Going Back To Work

When was the last time you saw your beloved (or otherwise) colleagues? It feels like we ended some fever dream as more of Singapore head back the office. While some see it as a return to form, where one can once again have spirited discussions and collaborations at work, others lament the hectic commute and another huge change in routines. As we adapt to staggered hours, shift or split team arrangements, and unsightly, but necessary, decor changes in our offices, Tropika Club offers 5 tips for getting used to going back to work, so you can have a smooth return to the office.

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1. Ask to work from home if you can

Not wanting to have that smooth return to the office just yet? If you’re still worried about the risk of exposure of COVID-19, you can ask your managers, or the persons-in-charge, to see if you have the option to continue with doing remote work. Even with Singapore’s relatively low infection rates, it’s best to stay home to avoid infection. After all, tech giants Google and Facebook stated that they’re letting most employees stick to remote work 2020 to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

2. Share How You’re Feeling

COVID-19 has affected each and one of us. Chances are, your colleagues and managers are feeling the same. In a survey of over 500 Singaporeans back in August, 59 per cent of them indicated that they weren’t comfortable with returning to their offices.

So there’s no need to feel embarrassed since remote work has improved organisational resiliency. You can raise any concerns you might have with your higher-ups. If you think that your employer has breached the Singaporean government’s Requirements for Safe Management Measures at the Workplace, you use SnapSAFE to report workplace safety and health issues to the Ministry of Manpower.

3. Bring Lunch to Work

Just imagine how crowded it’ll be at the cramped pantry, with barely enough room to squeeze half the office – with or without social distancing and safe distancing. If you haven’t already, you could bring your cutlery, cups, plates to the office. And, get a small cool bag so you won’t have to share the fridge at your office. 

If you have to use the shared appliances in your office, do remember to wipe and sanitise the shared appliances after each use to ensure good personal hygiene.

4. Limit Sharing of Tech and Stationery

Maybe you could bring your personal stationery to work, be it earphones, keyboards, or pens. Or maybe it’s time to finalise the last phase of the office’s digital transformation. You could opt for using digital tools when it comes to paperwork, such as digital transfers of documents, switching to e-forms, e-banking, and the ever-trusty emails. 

With Singapore’s top-notch internet speeds, these digital transformations and reliance on cloud communications shouldn’t be much of a problem. If you’re a manager, do your best to provide contactless equipment, such as contactless thermometers and visible SafeEntry QR codes, to minimise the spread of the virus, ensuring that smooth return to the office stays that way.

By avoiding sharing those accessories and going digital, it could help you limit your exposure to the virus via high touch surfaces. And, you might be able to stop wondering if that pesky colleague from finance is stealing your pen.

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5. Be Kind to Yourself

Amidst all the planning and the remembering to pack hand sanitiser into your bag, make sure you set aside time for self-care too. These are critical adjustments, coming not too long after a slew of changes to our lives. The pandemic itself is already causing mass trauma not only in Singapore but across the world. There’s so much one can do to get increased productivity.

 So it’s alright to take things one step at a time. Taking care of yourself and your mental health becomes even more important now. If you can, remember to set aside downtime from work, be it for a walk around the HDB block or a quick cup of tea. 

If you need help coping with stress, or with fighting anxiety and depression, here are some avenues that can help you.

Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444

National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868

Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222

Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6385-3714

Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788

Agency for Integrated Care Hotline: 1800-650-6060

Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) Care Text service available through Facebook Messenger on the SOS official Facebook page

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As Singapore moves toward a gradual re-opening, we have to stay vigilant. Keep track of daily updates on the news about the pandemic. Maintain good personal hygiene. Remember to use SafeEntry and TraceTogether. Above all, stay safe, and take care.

So tell us, would you stay working from home? Or do you relish in chats over the water cooler?



Terence is Tropika Club Magazine's deputy editor who loves learning about animals and their behavior. He is also an anthropologist, so he is very interested in how different cultures interact with animals. He has worked in the publishing industry for over 10 years, and have been lucky enough to work with some amazing authors and editors.

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