7 things you can do to help you readjust to the office after working from home
It’s been a long 12 months of shifting mindsets – especially when it comes to work.
Working from home, or ‘WFH’ hereafter, has become the norm since March 2020 when the first Covid-19 lockdown was put in place.
But with the vaccination programme and roadmap out of the latest lockdown continuing to remove the shackles from society, we’re now gearing up for an imminent return to the office.
All of which may well have sparked some feelings of anxiety – just as any other major change would.
Here are our top suggestions on the things you should do in preparation for returning to the office after lockdown…
1. Don’t put yourself under too much pressure
While heading into the office prior to the pandemic might have seemed a pretty unremarkable thing, returning after so long away will probably feel like you’re starting a new job altogether.
The office might even seem a little unfamiliar at first – even if you’ve been in your role for some time.
A ‘new’ environment can take some getting used to, so try not to put yourself under too much pressure and don’t expect too much from yourself in those early days back in the office.
2. Get back into an office work routine
One of the biggest tests for us all early in the pandemic was adapting to a new routine when WFH.
Back then, you may have been used to an early start to travel to the office – before your daily commute became the short walk from your bedroom to your home office space.
That means your sleep patterns will have changed, along with your work day routine.
So, a week before you’re due to return to the office, try to get back into those patterns:
- Start going to bed at the time you would when working from the office
- Get up each morning at the same time you’d rise to commute to work
- Get back into your old weekday work routine, showering at the same time and eating the same breakfast as you would on a standard working day
3. Speak to your manager or boss
One of the most important steps to take if you’re feeling anxious about returning to work after lockdown is outlining your worries to your line manager or boss.
Find some time to speak to them in advance of your return to the office and let them know about anything that’s worrying you.
They’ll also be able to reassure you when it comes to the safety measures they’re putting in place to keep you and your colleagues safe when you all return.
4. Prepare in advance
You may have jumped on the train, or on a bus into the office before the pandemic – but that might not work for you now.
Start thinking about how you’ll get to work and what you’re comfortable with.
If you’re feeling anxious about being around people again after so long in lockdown, that’s a perfectly normal reaction to a testing situation.
So, if you’re not feeling confident with using public transport yet, think about alternative ways you could commute to work.
With the weather improving, you could think about cycling in – not only will this give you a healthy dose of fresh air before work, but it will reduce your carbon footprint, too.
5. Keep some of your WFH routines
One thing the lockdowns have done is introduce many people to the joy of a good walk.
Regular exercise can really help with any feelings of anxiety and there’s no need to give up your daily wander just because lockdown is easing and you’re returning to the office.
Integrate a short walk into your lunch break so you can continue to enjoy the benefits of exercise when back at work.
6. A productive commute
While the commute for many is ample opportunity for some extra sleep or a good book, there are massive benefits for making your journey to the office a little more productive.
If you’re on the train to the office, why not take in a podcast related to your work, or catch up on some emails to take the pressure off those first few days back in the office.
While it’s important not to do too much, too soon, using your commute to get ahead and make the rest of the day as stress-free as possible can really help ease you back into office life.
7. Healthy eating and hydration
The role food and nutrition plays in keeping the mind healthy as well as the body can’t be underestimated.
As well as a good night’s sleep before returning to the office for the first time since lockdown, following a balanced diet can put you in the right place to take the return in your stride.
Start the day with some slow release energy foods like oats, nuts and seeds and follow that with enough fruit and veg throughout the day.
Top off your healthy food intake with plenty of water and avoid too much caffeine.
All of this will help your concentration levels and stave off any feelings of tiredness or irritation that can inflame those pangs of anxiety about returning to work.