Disaster workers may need to deal with different work environments and duties during disasters, compared with everyday work routine. You may have to adapt to the work routines as you return to office from operations. Here are some situations you may encounter while resuming routine work, followed by some tips to help you adapt to the changes [1]

  • Unrelenting fatigue

    Even with sufficient amount of sleep, you may still experience extreme fatigue due to the presence of chronic stress.

    Tips – It is normal if you need more rest than you think. However, if extreme fatigue persists, you may consider seeking professional assistance.

  • Dissatisfaction with routine work

    The rescue work in a disaster response environment may give you great satisfaction. After returning to the normal workplace, you may find your routine work much less fulfilling.

    Tips – It is normal to feel this way. To counterbalance this feeling, you can try integrating the positive input you learnt from the operation to everyday work. You can also learn to appreciate your work.

  • Emergence of unexpected emotional reactions

    You may be easily affected by the combined impacts of intense experiences, fatigue and stress, resulting in rapid emotional changes and mood swings.

    Tips – It is common for you to experience unexpected emotions, most of which will subside over time. Try to be aware of your emotions, and talk to people you trust when necessary.

  • Interpersonal difficulties

    The pace at the disaster response environment is often faster than that of the normal workplace. Having been used to the fast-paced work environment, you may find your colleagues at the normal workplace working slow, thus becoming likely to pick on their performance.

    Meanwhile, your colleagues may have negative feelings towards your deployment because they may need to take up your routine work. Also, they may not have a thorough idea of how difficult disaster work could be, thereby not showing enough empathy for you. Therefore, it is possible that conflicts may arise after you return to the office.

    Tips – It is understood that you have different experience from your colleagues during operation. You can try to walk in others' shoes and appreciate your colleagues' support during your absence. After all, mutual understanding and support is key to maintaining a friendly and supportive workplace.

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