Back to office? Avoid asking your co-workers these 7 questions

Published on: 18 February 2022, 13:35 pm IST

If you're returning to work after Covid-19 turned the world upside down for two years, do NOT ask these questions to your colleagues.

how to be assertive
Exercise empathy when dealing with people, post-Covid. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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After a long hiatus, the world is looking to get back to the physical workspace after Covid-19 hit life as we knew it. The last two years have been marked by sheer uncertainty and loneliness, and returning to work might serve as a welcome change. A lot has happened during this time — people have suffered from financial setbacks, lost their loved ones, and experienced a lot of grief in general. This means we need to be a little more empathetic, and refrain from asking certain questions that may come across as insensitive, when we are returning to work after Covid-19.

Going back to office itself is mentally challenging for some. So, avoid being into-your face, and cut others around you some slack. You never know what’s their story and how did the Covid-19 phases impact them, especially if you haven’t been in touch. So keep the conversation easy and pleasant.

office
The anxiety around returning to office after Covid-19 is real. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Keep a check on the questions you ask people when you’re returning to work after Covid-19:

1. “Have you gained weight?”

In a country like India, it has been quite normalized to comment on someone else’s weight. Please do not ask anyone this question when you’re returning to work, because they may have gone through bodily changes, as a result of Covid-19. So, try and ask about their well-being, instead of their weight.

2. You’ve become so scrawny

Again, you may feel that someone doesn’t look the way they would earlier. But control your urge to pose this question, please. They may have shed kilos, due to any reason, medical or otherwise. That’s none of your business!

3. “What happened to your hair?”

Any comment on another person’s appearance is unwarranted. It is highly likely that they haven’t had any time to spend on self-care due to their responsibilities at home and work. Exercise some sensitivity and try NOT to get personal at all. Again, you have no business to speak/ask about how they look.

Also read: Practice these doctor-recommended COVID-19 precautions when you get back to work

grief
Some people may have dealt with the grief of losing someone. Be sensitive. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. “Did you lose anyone during Covid-19?”

This is a big NO-NO! The second wave of coronavirus was particularly damaging, and it hit too close to home. There were several people, who lost their loved ones, and experienced a lot of grief. Asking them this question will serve as a grim reminder of those times, and make their heart ache even more.

Also, read: Grieving the loss of a parent can be tough, and it’s OKAY to seek help

5. “You look too sad”

Saying things like ‘I am here for you’ makes a difference, but harping on the fact that they look sad, might just trigger an old wound. Do not ask this question, even if they look melancholic or disinterested to speak.

6. “You should be more positive”

While there is enough negativity around the world, toxic positivity has also become the bane of our times. Having a range of emotions is perfectly normal, and no, one doesn’t have to be positive all the time. It is okay not to be okay, so give others the space to be.

7. “You broke up with your partner? What happened?”

This has been a hard time for many people, especially those who have had problems in their relationships. Covid-19 has also led to several breakups and divorces, and it’s not been easy at all. So, do not ask them anything about this, even if you have come across such rumours.

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.

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