Companies that have been partially or completely closed down to employees during the coronavirus pandemic are now welcoming them back.
It might seem like a transition for employees who become used to their two-minute commute from the kitchen to the office, casual dress, food and drink breaks and midday naps.
But it doesn’t have to be a rough transition commuting back to your office. There are some advantages to working in the office, especially if you take some of the best parts of the work from home experience and bring them with you.
Here are some tips:
Separate work from home
One of the common complaints about working from home is that it’s tough to disengage. You might be used to designated work hours at the office, and sometimes the work from home days can blend into breakfast, lunch, dinner and even delay your bedtime.
When you’re back in the office, you can take advantage of the more structured environment and make sure you start at your usual time and leave when your workday is done. You can make your home a work-free haven once again, if possible. You’re not only physically separated from your office, you also might be mentally drained from the workday and commute.
Then, on the days when you’re working from home, you should keep to the same work schedule to avoid burnout.
Giving yourself time to get up, go to the fridge, walk outside or even rest over your lunch hour makes work from home life more bearable. But don’t forget self-care once you’re in the office. While naps might be discouraged, taking a walk at lunchtime is an excellent idea.
The fridge at work won’t be stocked like the one you have at home – and that can be a good thing. If you don’t bring the chips, ice cream and other goodies to work, it will be much easier to avoid them if you’re looking to lose some of that pandemic weight.
Be grateful for human interaction.
Zoom fatigue is real. It has made virtual face-to-face interaction more challenging during work from home days. However, we can all appreciate the ability to see, talk to and collaborate and laugh with our colleagues in person.
You might return to a hybrid schedule, which can give you the best of both worlds. You can appreciate the advantages of meeting with people in person a couple of days a week. For the remainder of the week, you can take advantage of the joys of working from home while virtually meeting with your team or clients/customers.
It might be a nice change from work from the home environment when sometimes people can feel out of the loop. Returning to the office may provide the perfect opportunity to reengage with the office community!
Make meetings count
Hopefully, your workplace has eliminated or shortened some of the in-person meetings you had to face before the pandemic. If so, that’s a real benefit you can enjoy when you’re back in the office.
These expedited and abbreviated interactions can be adapted to the office. The short phone or video calls you had virtually with colleagues can become short collaborations. Social distancing concerns will likely limit the number of people in a room at work, which might curtail those huge meetings where many people gathered. Maybe now only the people who need to be at an in-person meeting will be included, which will help the productivity of all.
Build the culture
Some new employees have had to start their careers virtually. While this has been an advantage for both organizations and employees, it can be difficult to meet co-workers. Social interaction is a part of the experience for younger workers. This can be a chance for them to collaborate better and learn what makes your workplace special.
That’s why it’s important to seek out people when you’re back in the office and try to build an in-person relationship with them if you’ve done your communication virtually.
Many managers have done a wonderful job during the pandemic keeping their company culture alive. Although it may be different, you may re-discover that some in-person interaction is ideal to make sure all employees – especially those who have never set foot in the office – realize their company is a special place.