You’ve become used to the comfort that working from home brings.
From work-life balance to overall well-being, the benefits of remote work have been enjoyed by many employees. But times are slowly reverting and employers are issuing return-to-office mandates, with the expectation of in-person work to occur more commonly to tackle the underutilization of office space.
With the promise of improving the company’s culture and maintaining employee satisfaction, the return to the office movement is affecting most companies – but this shouldn’t mean your personal lives suffer.
There are many benefits to be gained by returning to the office for employees, and business leaders also benefit by increasing their office occupancy to pre-pandemic levels. But if you are still unnerved at the advent of returning to the office, then follow our top 7 tips for returning to the office, AKA the great return.
Find out if you are legally obligated to return to the office.
Create your back-to-the-office routine
It has been great not needing to catch public transportation every morning and benefiting from the extra sleep that flexible schedules present.
But it’s time to get back into a routine so your return to the office journey isn’t strenuous!
Suppose you have been given a one-week notice until your company will no longer work remotely. This means you need to begin mimicking your routine before remote work was the norm.
Start by waking up one hour earlier and imagine that your commute to the workplace has already begun. Check if your public transport has undergone any changes in timing, and consider embracing the habit of packing your bag the night before.
Ultimately, our daily lives have become more relaxed and it will take a structured routine to ensure you don’t struggle.
Rekindling workplace communication
You will be seeing your colleagues and managers a lot more often now – start building back that rapport!
If the majority of your communication has been through messaging applications, then you’ll want to prepare yourself for plenty of in-person conversation.
Workers will always need positive communication at work to ensure relationships are good. Work relationships are critical because they dictate your overall job experience, and ensure the team dynamics are strong for productivity.
Having a healthy rapport with managers is very handy and it can work in your favour in the long run.
Keep it professional
There’s a good chance that you have become complacent in the way you dress for work.
Remote work gave people the freedom to take the dress code down a notch, and it was a welcomed change. But as you transition back to the office, it would be wise to consider some new professional clothing to foster a productivity mindset.
Clothes have a direct correlation with our mindset of productivity. If we dress in a relaxed outfit, such as a baggy T-shirt and sweatpants, then it can tell our mind to relax and ‘take it easy’. Alternatively, pop on a suit or a professional dress, and all of a sudden you’re ready to walk back to the office.
A professional outfit signals our brain to prepare for work. A relaxed outfit counteracts this by giving a sense of comfort, similar to home, thereby invoking the desire to return to home.
Understand your employer’s needs
Yes, working remotely gave people a better work-life balance but employees should also recognize the needs of companies.
A business pays our salaries and whilst workers are an essential part of the cycle of success, there needs to be a middle ground. Your employer is likely under pressure to bring employees back to the office as a method to solve office occupancy, and they will show appreciation when you work with them.
Companies understand that many workers have been quitting recently. From the Great Resignation, to quiet quitting and now loud quitting, it’s certainly a tight labor market but employers are wanting to retain staff levels.
If you’re hybrid schedule isn’t as flexible as you desire, then do your best to work around their needs. Come into the office when you’re needed, and when the time comes, your employer will recognize this commitment and be more willing to accommodate your needs.
Change is good.
The sound of returning to the office might not be the most exciting prospect in the world, but there’s a good chance you will be presented with new opportunities.
Many reports and news headlines discussed workers experiencing burnout because they work remotely. Returning to the office gives our brain a change of environment and helps separate work from the hours after 5 pm.
Workers have commonly felt disconnected from their tasks or worked past their normal hours because of the convenience. While extra work sounds great from a productivity perspective, but it quickly turns into burning out as a result of limited personal time.
Returning to the office is a chance to become inspired, improve your workplace relationships, progress your career and decrease your burnout symptoms – stay positive.
Utilize your flexible options
If your employer is offering a hybrid work model, then make sure to take advantage of it. Don’t pressure yourself into a complete transition instantly, or get ahead of yourself by leaving the option of flexibility behind.
The entire point behind the hybrid work model is for balance. See an opportunity to model your own schedule? Take it and don’t feel the need to outdo others by showing up every day unless it’s necessary.
The quicker workers push themselves into a routine after a long hiatus, the quicker it will catch up to them and once again lead to burnout.
The return to the office isn’t a race.
Revamp your workplace
If we assume your desk has been vacant for many months, then it’s also safe to guess that it will be quite bare upon arrival.
It’s your first day back and there’s no need to frantically logon and type away. Give yourself 15 minutes to tidy up your desk and create a neat space, because there’s undoubtedly a direct correlation between our work environment and productivity.
Add some greenery to your desk and bring a photo that you’d like to glance at. Sort out any messy wiring and ensure there’s a variety of colors to brighten up the space and your mood. Offices might feel bland on their own, but a little creativity at your own desk (don’t get too creative) will certainly spruce up your outlook on working in an office.
Your return to office doesn’t have to be miserable and following these 7 tips will definitely add a kick to your step.
There are many benefits to the Great Return and workers should look forward to rebuilding their workplace relationships, improving collaboration, reducing burnout, and embracing the balance present through the hybrid work model.
As long as companies understand the needs of their workers, and are willing to support them during the transition you are likely to have a happy team. Employees also need to compromise with their organization and realize that their jobs be better completed in an office, whilst ensuring their work-life balance isn’t sacrificed with the hybrid work model.
Overall, the return to office movement isn’t such a downer.