Returning to the office? Here’s what you might have forgotten

back into the office

By Danielle Jarosz

The past 18-months have brought about tremendous change in the way we all live our lives, whether it be social interactions, home life, or how we do our jobs. In the past, the ability to work from home was a privilege few could enjoy. Suddenly, many found themselves at home creating makeshift offices and meeting in virtual workspaces. Now, almost as suddenly as working from home took the reins, we are thrown back into the fray. With masks in our pockets and business casual clothes on our backs, we return to the office. Here’s what you might have forgotten about being back:

Shared spaces
Conference rooms. Mini fridges. Desks and cubicles. After social distancing for so long, people are back in your personal space and it’s something we all have to get used to again. ‘Six feet’ goes out the window when you have a client meeting or are catching up on priorities with your team. While it might be an adjustment to return to these shared spaces, it’s a lot easier to walk over to a coworker for a question than it is to wait for an email. Forgot a spoon for yogurt? Jillian from H.R. always has extras. If the sudden return to close social proximity becomes suffocating, and there’s a good chance it might, you can (and should) always excuse yourself for a walk.

Dress code
Gone are the days where you could roll over in bed and open your email from your phone. We can all think back to those mornings when our pajama pants were hidden below the camera view and our work shirt hastily buttoned moments before entering the call. Now we’re back to waking up extra early to make sure our hair is neat, and our sweatpants are folded up in the drawer. It’s easy to forget how time consuming getting ready for work can be, so remember to set your alarm a few minutes earlier. The one saving grace is that those sweatpants will always be waiting for you when you get home.

Staying on task
Nothing is more difficult than working from home and noticing that page-turner book on your nightstand or remembering your favorite show’s new season just dropped. Maybe you’re absolutely exhausted and your bed is just a few feet away or your dog looks too cute not to pet. Whatever it may be, working from home allows a little extra breathing room when you just need a break. Back in the office, instead of your bed a few feet away, it’s your boss and you have work to do. Distraction is no longer a viable option. However, as we are all getting used to the office grind again, it’s important to go easy on yourself. Working for eight hours straight without a brain break will make the transition harder than it has to be. So, remember to get up, stretch and give yourself several mini breaks throughout the day.

So, we’re back in the office. We are sharing spaces, dressing up and staying on task all over again. Let’s welcome the daily structure back with open arms and remember that change isn’t easy and there has been a lot of change lately. So, when the clock strikes five today, go home, put those sweatpants back on and watch that show by yourself. You deserve it.

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