'Culture Shock' Expected As Australians Return To Offices In Coming Weeks

Australian workers are eagerly eyeing a return to their offices, but an occupational health psychology expert says that could spark culture shock for some.

A sudden change from home offices to downtown desks could spark a culture shock among Australian workers, an occupational health psychology expert says.

Households across the country could soon enjoy a further roll back in restrictions that have forced them to stay indoors for weeks to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The National Cabinet has brought forward to Friday a discussion about relaxing Australia's coronavirus measures further.

While many workers are ready to return to their pre-pandemic professional lives, others may experience the shift as a jolt.



The Pandemic Has Shown Us Just How Inflexible Aussie Workplaces Once Were

If you've been told you can't do your job from home or at the very least work from home (WFH) once a week, chances are your employer wasn't being entirely truthful.

"I think most people will enjoy going back to work for the social aspect, seeing colleagues again, getting out of the house, being in the office again," Griffith University psychology Professor Paula Brough said.

"But for some the adjustment might be hard and it might be a bit of a culture shock.

"Suddenly you might find yourself in a large room, full of 20 or 30 people perhaps in a meeting or teaching environment. Because you've been on your own so much, it might be a little more odd than it did previously. But that will wear off."

However, Professor Brough said the need to take care of our mental health isn't over, as our daily lives change yet again.

Many Australians have just started getting used to working from home, and might find shifting back the office difficult. Image: Getty

Social media platforms have been flooded with posts about sourdough starter and preserving, skills University of Queensland nutrition expert Dr Veronique Chaychay says should be carried into the future.

She is urging people to seek out the support of their friends, family and loved ones and get outside as restrictions are peeled back.

"The human contact and human connection is really important," she added. Disruption to daily routines may have triggered unhealthy eating habits, but stay-at-home rules have also sparked new trends.



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National coronavirus restrictions could be relaxed as early as next Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, praising Aussies for sticking to the rules and recommendations from authorities.

"In the long term this is a really great skill, to make your own bread," she said. "Some people have taken up pickling and so we've been encouraged not to be finicky with fruit and vegetables found in the supermarket, to encourage farmers by buying things that don't look good, or buying in a larger quantity."

Her top tips for staving off unhealthy habits in favour of nourishing the body include crunching on raw vegetables, blending fruits and writing a list of what we'll eat in a day.

Feature image: Getty