Talk Therapy With Vera

Are you stressed about returning to the office?

Vera Cheng speaks with Jeff McArthur who is filling in for Alan Carter from Global News about the challenges of returning to work. Get in touch to book Vera Cheng for your next speaking engagement.

Jeff MacArthur: [00:00:25.23] And I’m Jeff MacArthur sitting in this afternoon for Alan Carter, and as we get closer and closer to September, [00:00:30.00] there’s more and more talk about a possible return to the office. Now, some are excited to get back and see their colleagues face to face. Well, for others, well, they’re a little more anxious about returning with concerns over the Delta variant and questions over certain companies vaccination policies. And for more on this, we’re joined now by Vera Cheng, a registered social worker and psychotherapist who joins us now here on global news radio. Very good afternoon, and thanks for your time on this important topic.


Vera Cheng: [00:00:59.02] Thank you for having me. [00:01:00.00]


Jeff MacArthur: [00:01:01.03] All right, for those that are feeling anxious about a return to work, you recommend taking some time for self-reflection. And I’m wondering just what sort of questions should we do you think be asking ourselves?


Vera Cheng: [00:01:14.17] I think it can definitely help you to understand your own expectation of your job, but also be able to rethink whether there’s work life balance within your job as well. And some of the questions I recommend for my clients to be reflecting on: Has [00:01:30.00] that been a good thing for you during COVID? From working from home? Or were there any challenges or easier way during working from home period? And one thing is to recognize that, you know, were there any stress or anxiety that you have concerns about going back to the office?


Jeff MacArthur: [00:01:51.21] And the old adage, of course, is information is power, and I know that you also recommend that employees, those that are looking at a possible return to the office, [00:02:00.00] even maybe a hybrid model or a part time and return to the office. They should really educate themselves about their return to work. Just how should they go about doing that?


Vera Cheng: [00:02:11.45] I think it would be great to find out whether there is policy or procedures that the air have made, and because this would, this information would definitely give you better options and decision making about going back to work to the office. And I have had some [00:02:30.00] clients, you know, losing sleep, going back to work because they have to travel with the travel from with the TTC. And at the same time, you know, there are other layers about going back to work because there are other folks from the Asian community that have to deal with racism in the workplace. And sometimes that this will help people to identify that, you know, with this information, when there’s in place, it will again, [00:03:00.00] it will give them a better idea.


Jeff MacArthur: [00:03:02.60] And if you are having some concerns, just how important is it that you have a dialogue with your employer that you know you seek out a time to speak, maybe with your individual manager and have a dialogue that could maybe be helpful both for the employer and the employee?


Vera Cheng: [00:03:21.08] For sure, I think, you know, it can be very difficult having an open conversation with your manager, especially that, you know, [00:03:30.00] I often speak with clients about having open dialogue with people who are important to them. And sometimes that by having this dialogue, you know, you can have you can negotiate a plan about what works for you. And this way it will help you. It will help you to transition smoothly going back to the office.


Jeff MacArthur: [00:03:54.13] And is that something that a lot of people just don’t consider that they feel as if they get a memo or an email from [00:04:00.00] their employer that that’s it, that’s the way things are going to be. But a lot of times, maybe employers that they want to make sure, obviously, that you’re OK as an employee and that you know you are feeling healthy and you’re able to be productive at work and they’re willing to make some accommodations to make sure that you are feeling safe and good moving forward.


Vera Cheng: [00:04:20.80] Are you…for sure. I think what happened is that their their employer definitely is also dealing with a lot of unknown as well. And they want to make [00:04:30.00] sure that their employee can come back safely and feel comfortable working in the office environment. I think that’s number one. Number one standard thing for them.


Jeff MacArthur: [00:04:42.87] And just how important as well, Vera is it or has it been and how important do you think it will be here as we? Towards a return to work, perhaps in the fall, to continue to prioritize self care.


Vera Cheng: [00:04:59.24] I think it’s [00:05:00.00] it’s best to because, again, this is part of the work life balance that you’re wanting to put in, so you know, it can be, you know, putting that as part of your priority can definitely help you better manage your professional and your personal life. So, for example, it can be daily exercise affirmations or healthy eating.


Jeff MacArthur: [00:05:22.68] Yeah, I was going to ask you about that, about what the definition of self care is because I think that means so much to so many different people and it’s maybe hard [00:05:30.00] to define and maybe it should be hard to define because it’s very individual, isn’t it? And what works for one person? Somebody else might need something else when it comes to self care.


Vera Cheng: [00:05:40.65] Yes, definitely. I think, you know, for me, as an example of self care, it’s really just to take care of yourself and you know how to manage your stress or your anxiety better. And and sometimes that, you know, being open your with your employer can [00:06:00.00] definitely help transition you back to work smoothly.


Jeff MacArthur: [00:06:04.97] And has that been maybe one of the positives, one of the silver linings of the pandemic, do you believe? Vera I mean, what are you hearing from people that you work with? Are we prioritizing our self care a little more? Are we a little more cognizant about work life balance and mental health? And, you know, obviously that’s a great thing moving forward.


Vera Cheng: [00:06:24.65] Yes, I think as I see a lot of people who are coming to see me, they are definitely prioritize [00:06:30.00] some prioritizing their mental health better prior than COVID just because they are having they were having a hard time managing and I think, you know, this could be helping them to once they manage their self care. Putting that as a priority, like I said earlier, it will help them to, you know, have have proper be able to work properly.


Jeff MacArthur: [00:06:59.36] All right, well, these [00:07:00.00] discussions are just so important, so important to have on a continuing and ongoing basis and Vera, thank you so much for taking some time out of your busy day for us. Appreciate it.


Vera Cheng: [00:07:09.56] Thank you for having me.

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