As states begin the process of opening for normal life, many who have been working from home for the last month and a half may look at returning to the office as the most daunting thing they’ll have to experience in a while. After all, you’ve been going to work in your pj’s, spending more time with family, having all your favorite drinks and snacks on hand, and your favorite playlist playing as loud as you want. Life’s been good for many. Others can’t wait to get back into their routines of getting to the office where they can be more productive and have a sense of normalcy.
If you’re like me, I am a mix of the people excited to go back to normal, while also not looking forward to having to put on real pants everyday once again. I’ve created these six tips for making that trip back to the day-to-day grind a little easier.
#1 Spend Time Mentally Preparing
You’ve been home for two months now. Whether life has been chaotic with kiddos running around, or it’s been calm and peaceful, changing gears back to having a routine once again will be difficult. Spend time mentally preparing for the transition. Everything is going to be okay. Things will be chaotic for the first week or two, but life will begin to coast once again.
#2 Restart Your Morning Routine
If you’re like me, I have been getting out of the bed in time to throw my hair in a ponytail, fix my first cup of coffee, and log on for the work day. You could be getting up and making sure the kids are fed before hopping on the first conference call of the day and praying everyone stays calm! Tip #2 is to start getting back in your morning routine early. If you know you will return to work on a certain day, work on getting back to your before work/school routine a week ahead of time. It will make the transition to earlier wake ups, handheld breakfast, and rushed morning a little easier.
#3 Prep Your Workspace
Let’s face it. It’s been nice having access to your favorite sweater or blanket when you’ve been working in the home office. The best thing to make returning to your office or cubicle more comfortable is to bring a little bit of home with you. Bring that blanket or sweater. Stock up on your favorite snacks. Get a nice pair of headphones so that you can still listen to your favorite playlist. Make sure your space is a place that reflects you and the things that bring joy to your life.
#4 Time Management is Essential
You’ve been on your own schedule for a while now. Your computer is at home and you can go work on that project when you have a thought hit in the middle of the evening. When it’s time to get back to the office we have to take our time management seriously. Meetings need to be held to a set number of minutes. Tasks need to be completed in a timely manner. Remember that other employees have deadlines that may depend on you getting work done as well.
Travel can be cut back as well. After this quarantine is over most people have become familiar with products like Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. Consider making some of your weekly meetings over video conference to cut back on spending time in the vehicle.
#5 Respect Others’ Space
You’ve had an office to yourself or only had to share with your partner or kids. You have had your music or tv loud. You’ve been holding conference calls on speaker phone. You haven’t really had to worry about interrupting others. When the time comes to get back in the office remember that you’re sharing space with others once again. Try not to play your music too loud (remember that headphone suggestion), take your calls on your handset, and remember to respect other people’s workspace. Try to save all your questions for someone and send them a chat or email requesting a time to get together with them. Try to avoid walking into someone’s office or cubicle every half hour with another question.
#6 Be Transparent/Positive Energy
Getting back to normal isn’t going to be easy. If you are struggling with something, be transparent. Let your coworkers and employers know when something isn’t working for you. It’s better to handle problems as they arise instead of letting them bubble to the surface later. Remember that everyone else will be taking time to adjust as well. Walk into this transition period with your head high and full of positive energy. Everything will be fine and back to normal after a while, but it will take patience with one another and positivity to make that happen.