If you are heading back to the office after a long period of furlough or working from home then it’s natural that you may have mixed emotions about it – particularly if you feel you’ve lost the motivation you had for the job. These concerns are only natural, as being away from the work environment for some time can leave us apprehensive to return. Here, Dr Giuseppe Aragona GP and online doctor at Prescription Doctor reveals his tips for improving your mental health and increasing your motivation for work.


  1. Set small goals at first

Heading back to the office could seem a bit overwhelming after months of minimal in-person interaction.  Rather than one big goal, try breaking that first day back into smaller goals by setting small, achievable goals for your first day,  This will help create a feeling of accomplishment.  Write a daily to do list to help keep distractions limited and ensure you complete daily tasks. It’s important that you ease back in and don’t over do it in your first week.


  1. Celebrate results

Everyone needs encouragement so learn to accept praise – and get in the habit of quietly praising yourself, too.  If a colleague notices something and praises or compliments your work, don’t dismiss it – smile, accept the compliment and say thank you. This will also give you the motivation to carry on and complete work to an even better standard.  Even if your achievements aren’t noticed by others, make the point of recognising and praising your own accomplishments with positive self-talk.


  1. Stay positive

Keeping a positive attitude at work will naturally help you do be more productive and increase your motivation, if you feel good mentally chances are you will do a better job at work. This will most likely also rub off on your work colleagues or team, helping them to become more productive.


  1. Take regular breaks

Taking regular breaks is imperative to ensure you do a good job at work.  You may see it as time wasting but ensuring you give your mind and body rest throughout the day allows you to come back to your desk with a clear mind – and research shows that taking breaks actually improves productivity. Take your full lunch break and ensure you are taking regular breaks from the screen.


  1. Stay healthy

A healthy diet is a staple for wellbeing at work. Rather than having a huge lunch which will most likely leave you feeling tired and lethargic, why not opt for a salad or a healthy lunch, the nutrients in the food will help you to stay focussed. Caffeine is good for a quick boost of energy but try not to overdo it as it could leave you feeling burnt out. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is your best bet.  Taking a short walk in your lunch break is another great way to improve your health, your joints, muscles and cardiovascular system will thank you for it – and it’s great for your mental health too.


  1. Have a desk rejig

After coming back to the office with so long off, you may find that you want to give your work space a bit of a rejig so it feels like ‘your space’ again.  Planning this will help you feel more positive about returning to work, think about adding things that will boost your mood such as nice stationery, a photo of a loved one, an attractive plant or an uplifting quote in a frame.


  1. Go out with your colleagues.

Building a good relationship with those you work with will help to create a positive working environment. Why not suggest Friday drinks after work, or head out to lunch with a colleague? You may also want to invite your immediate boss to help the relationship there too.


By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.