Dealing with Uncertainty at Work

The world is changing at a rapid pace. The pandemic shook up the way we do business, our work routines, and how we think about our lives. Add war, inflation, political unrest, and climate change, and you’ve got a lot of uncertainty. In this episode of My Crazy Office, Kathi and Katherine offer concrete ways to manage uncertainty on the job and in general.

Tricks for Managing Hybrid Work Life: My Crazy Office Overtime, Season 9

Kathi and Katherine talk about hybrid work life on this week’s My Crazy Office Overtime show.

What are some tricks for managing a hybrid work life?

Listen to this week’s podcast here.

The Next Transition – Back to the Office

As some of the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic begin to lift, and some people cautiously begin to return to their work environments, we are tasked with the job of managing yet another period of transition. It is the transition from the safety and predictability of our quarantined home environments to the uncertainty and potential risks of the outside world. It’s the transition from the daily routines and practices that we have established while sheltering in place, to the new routines and practices that involve people and things outside of the home.

Even if you are still working from home, you are probably in transition. You and members of your family may now be interacting more with the world at large by venturing out to see friends, visit stores, go to restaurants, travel short distances, or participate in outdoor events. 

Transitions can be tricky. They can bring up a range of feelings – from fear and anxiety to impatience and irritability.  Transitions heighten our emotional reactions; they put us a little more on edge.

If, for example, you are returning to your office after several months away, just the thought of returning to your former work setting may set off both excitement and anxiety. If you see that one of your coworkers is less cautious than you are regarding social distancing, you may feel a flash of anger or fear. As you head to the office, you may experience a sense of dread – even though you know that your company is putting all of the necessary safety precautions in place. 

Are you in transition? Are aspects of your home life and work life changing? If so, here are a few suggestions for how to manage emotional ups and downs that may come with change: 

  • Appreciate that change, even positive change, is disruptive.

As difficult as the past few months have been, you managed to carve out a routine and to establish new patterns of living. Now, you have to change the mix of activities again. It may be great to expand your world, but stressful at the same time.

  • Do things to help yourself calm down and cool off.

Releasing pent up energy through exercise, walking, dancing, working out, biking, etc., remains one of the best self-care things you can do, but it’s especially valuable during times of transition. If you have an exercise routine, stick to it. If not, consider developing some kind of physical outlet to calm your nerves and lower your emotional temperature.

  • Decide which healthy routines you want to keep in place.

You may have developed some good habits over the past few months. Better eating, more family time, shorter workdays, time for hobbies. As you transition out of sheltering in place, retain the routines that you value. It will help you feel a greater sense of comfort and control.

  • Get extra rest.

As you consider re-entering your former work environment, your mind will be working double time preparing for and planning your next steps. Your body and brain will benefit if you commit to getting plenty of sleep (if possible), and finding time to unwind at the end of the day. 

Managing transitions during normal times can be challenging. During these unpredictable times, changing your working and living patterns may be both welcome and stressful. Give yourself credit for being in transition, and take care of your mind and body as you move forward.

Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co for any further help around this topic.

Dealing with Uncertainty

Without question, these are uncertain times. Daily routines, work lives, economic conditions and social lives have been uprooted and disrupted. Homes now serve as offices, school rooms, infirmaries, and personal gyms. We don’t know when we will get our normal lives back again.
Because there is so much we can’t control at this time, it’s important to notice and act on the things that we can. The following are things you can do to calm your nervous system, take control of your environment, and deal with these uncertain times in a constructive manner:
• Create order in small areas that you can control
Uncertainty can feel chaotic. To manage the chaos, it’s important to take small actions that provide order to your life: Get up at a regular hour, make your bed, dress for work, continue your workout routine (even if you have to modify it), plan meals, coordinate with family members when scheduling your day.
• Do things to calm your nervous system
Think of your emotions as energy-in-motion. To release anxiety, you want to do things that let the energy of anxiety move through your body. Physical activity or home workouts can really help here. Meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises are also good. Activities like cooking, singing, playing music, playing games, making art or building things can help your brain relax.
• Stay informed but don’t drown in information
Uncertainty makes us crave control. One way you may strive for control is by tracking every piece of news that comes out about CoVid-19 on social media, online news, or TV. Information overload will make you more anxious, not less. Limits on news consumption (checking in the morning, mid-day, and at end of day) will help your brain rest – which it needs to come up with clever solutions to uncertain times.
• Look for ways to be of service
Helping, assisting, caring for others is a very concrete tool for calming your mind and lifting your spirits during times of uncertainty. With social distancing and self-quarantining, the kind of help you can offer may not be “hands on” but it still counts. Phone calls to people living alone or elderly friends/family can make a difference. Video chats with friends who need to connect. Cooking meals for others that can be dropped at their homes. Reach out in some way, and offer to help. It will give you a sense of purpose and control.
• Work at being present
Being present means you are not running forward trying to predict the worst-case scenario nor are you glancing backward focusing on what you, your business, or your government should have done differently. Being present means you look at where you are today, appreciate what you have, and take small, concrete actions to live your life as well as you can. Being present can be very challenging during uncertain times, but it allows you to deal with the current reality from a non-hysterical place.
• Practice gratitude for simple things

Practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful tools you can use during uncertain times. Gratitude allows you to see what you have and what’s working rather than focusing on what you may lose and what isn’t working. You can be grateful for your food, your morning cup of coffee, your smart phone, your bed. List three things you are grateful at the beginning of every day and share that list with a friend.

Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co with any questions or for further help around this topic.