Once you get used to working at home, going back to the workplace is more than just switching out your fuzzy slippers for dress shoes and pajamas for pants. The sooner you start planning for the transition, the sooner you’ll be able to deal with it.
Perhaps you want to go back to build your network, improve your job security, or just get that sense of normalcy for even a day or two a week. Maybe your employer’s policy changed. IBM and Best Buy were just two examples of big companies who have cut back on remote work, both arguing that it was not as productive as they thought.
Getting back into the office is a big deal. These suggestions will help you adjust.
Hit Refresh on Your Work Activities:
- Optimize the commute. This could consume the majority of your time if you live a long distance from your office. If you don’t want to move, maybe you can walk, bike, read, etc. on the way to work.
- Talk face to face! Collaborating and socializing more with co-workers is one of the biggest benefits of working in the office. Volunteer for group projects. Have fun with your colleagues by inviting someone to lunch or join a table in the break room.
- Provide updates. You might have been diligent about reporting your progress or, perhaps, you need to start doing more of it. Either way, your boss and coworkers will appreciate information that allows them to perform their jobs better too.
- Handle distractions. That background noise and people dropping by might be too much – it certainly is for me. Put on some noise-canceling headphones or only chat with colleagues during breaks.
- Establish a quiet time. Do you need quiet time for some jobs? Schedule your office hours so that you can work and minimize interruption, and turn off your devices.
- Follow a routine. Although you may need to change some of your daily habits at home, there could also be other actions you can keep up in an office setting. Make sure similar tasks are done in batches and schedule specific times to check messages.
- Decorate. Make the place feel a bit cozier if you’re feeling homesick. Bring in artwork and drawing by your children. Display family photos and pets.
- Negotiate your hours based on your reasoning behind the transition. You may be able to allow some working at home. If the company has a new CEO with a different philosophy, it’s unlikely that they’d make an exception just for you. Otherwise, your boss may be open to letting you work from home once in a while. Working from home during heavy commute times is a great one to negotiate for.
Redesign Your Personal Activities:
- More balance. Another upside is you may be able to achieve healthier boundaries between work and home. Work activities will be less likely to creep into your bedroom and disrupt your mindset and rest.
- Rethink your morning routine. Alternatively, you may miss those peaceful mornings, or the ability to seep in. See if you can find something that will motivate you to wake up and face the day with a smile, like hopping on the Peloton, taking a morning yoga class, or dropping by your favorite coffee stand on your way to the office.
- Re-evaluate your budget. You might have to pay more for transportation and eat out if you work office hours. Typically, office attire doesn’t include pajamas or activewear (unless you’re a fitness trainer), so you may need to update your work wardrobe.
- Separate chores. If your family needs to adjust because you’re taking on more chores, talk to your partner or call a family meeting to redistribute chores. Hiring outside help may be a solution too.
Working in an office has its benefits, including fostering closer bonds with colleagues and enhancing your visibility. Maintaining a positive attitude and staying optimistic will help you sort out the details as you get back to work.