The past 16 months have been weird! Due to Covid-19, many people have spent more time working from home and some people (including me) have yet to even visit their workplace for more than a day. July 19th marks the end of remote working and the return to workplaces for many people across the UK.
Although many workplaces will be offering flexible work hours, the fear of driving back to the office or parking in a busy car park will still be a common factor amongst many people. If you are slightly anxious about your upcoming commute to and from the office, read this blog post to find out Marmalade’s top tips on battling driving anxiety when returning to work!
Check your car’s maintenance
Your car has probably spent a lot of time on the drive throughout the various lockdowns and, like many things in life, our cars need to be given regular TLC. Before you head out, make sure you have a look at our car maintenance checklist to reduce the risk of breaking down on the way to work!
Checking on your car's overall health once a month and regularly driving is a good practice as it helps to keep things running smoothly. Furthermore, it helps you to spot problems earlier which will aid you and your bank account when it comes to the annual MOT.
Practice makes perfect
Whether you have passed your test or are still a learner driver, driving phobias can get to the best of us! A life of working from home and not driving as regularly as before may have bought back or created some new fears. However, a bit of practice here and there will soon show you that there is nothing to worry about!
If you have yet to visit the office, it may be worth checking the location on a map and planning your route beforehand. If you are still a little nervous about the drive when practicing, you can always use a Satnav to jog your memory until you are familiar with the route.
Practicing your journey to and from your place of work a couple of times will help you to identify the easiest route for you. It will also help you pinpoint any changes since your last commute - like new road systems or perhaps even different routes altogether. Marmalade’s top tip is to try going at different times of the day. Whilst you are still enjoying working from home life, start when the roads are quiet during the day and after a couple of attempts throughout the week, progress into rush hour traffic.
If, after practicing a couple of times, you are still really nervous about driving due to working remotely, it may be beneficial to contact your old driving instructor (or any instructor) to arrange a driving lesson to refresh your memory. Due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic causing delays, we understand this may not be an option for some people. Thankfully, we spoke to a driving instructor for you and found out some of their top tips for tackling anxiety whilst behind the wheel
Tips for the big day
Have a look at your company's policy/handbook on returning to the office so you know what to expect. Remember to pack some spare masks, hand gel and be prepared to take a lateral flow test before you go/a few times a week once you’re back.
Check the weather leading up to the day so you do not run into any shocks - it may be the middle of summer, but this is the UK, and anything could happen! If it looks like you will be in poor driving conditions, it may be better if you ask a friend or family member to take you or use public transport. If that isn’t an option, why not read our blog on how to drive in heavy rain and wind
On the day, make sure you leave your house with plenty of time to spare - we aren’t experts, but we can pretty much guarantee that Monday morning rush hour will be a bit busier than usual! If you have been practicing, you should have a general idea of how long your commute should take - allow for at least 15 minutes extra and you should arrive in good time.
Once you arrive at the office, do not forget to give yourself a pat on the back (once the engine is off)! You may feel excited and overwhelmed that the journey is complete but do not forget to make sure everything is correct before exiting the car. This means taking some extra time to ensure the handbrake is on, lights are off, and windows are shut. Lastly, lock the car and make yourself a brew - you deserve it!