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How to Prepare to Return Back to the Office
As Americans are getting vaccinated by the millions, it seems the pandemic may be coming to a close. Everything about the future of work is uncertain, but once most individuals are fully vaccinated, there is a high probability that work will transition from remote to in-person. Ultimately, it is up to each company to decide when the timing is right, what in-office work will look like, and if they will continue to offer remote work or hybrid options.
It took us months to learn to adjust from working in person to working from home with heightened distractions and stress. Although it has been a year, it feels like we are finally adjusted to this situation, and before we know it, we will be right back to normal, but this time, the adjustment is going to be harsh. We understand everyone has their preference of working remotely, in-person, or a combination of both, but we know transitioning back into the office is going to be difficult. Here are some of our best tips to help you mentally prepare for this transformational switch.
Be open-minded to changes
Work life will not be the same once you are back in the office. Chances are companies will continue to socially distance until those restrictions are lifted, and work may be isolating. Water cooler chats and social interactions will probably not be the same, just as life as we know it has not been the same.
Another change you will need to adjust to is being around other people. Heading back into the office means being in a closer proximity with a larger amount of people. You may be socially distanced, but there is a chance you will experience anxiety when being around that many people again. A lot of anxieties sparked during the pandemic around large crowds and being around people because of spreading germs and the coronavirus, and as we are vaccinated, this is an anxiety we have to unteach ourselves. It was a truthful fear for the time being, but once vaccinated, we are safe to be around more people.
Plan to give yourself downtime
One of the hardest parts about going back into the office and commuting is the amount of energy it will take from you. You no longer have to get up early, shower, exercise, get dressed and eat breakfast, commute there, work for 8 hours, commute home, make dinner, and do whatever other chores and errands you have to get done.
Working and living in the same location is convenient, and making this switch after a year of that will be hard. Go out of your way to make time for yourself, even if its something as small as ordering take out instead of cooking or skipping the gym the first week or two. You are going to be both physically and mentally exhausted so do what you can to prepare for it.
Be patient with yourself and others
Similarly, to adjusting to working from home, it is not going to always be smooth sailing. The pandemic has shifted our lives and shifting back will not be as easy task for everyone. Do your best to show up for yourself and others and practice patience.
There will be mornings we forget to set our alarm and we wind up late, or there is traffic, and that is totally okay. Be patient with yourself as you relearn a routine that works for you and be patient with both your coworkers and the people you go home to at the end of the day. It can be easy to feel frustrated, but remember you are not alone in this and others are there to support you.
Overall, we are unsure of the nature of in-office work, but we are already beginning to see clients requiring their new hires to be available on site. We understand that not everyone is ready, but it is a reality we have to accept. We hope these tips will help you in your transit on from WFH to on-site work.