There are now several COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S., and for the most part, the pandemic has been brought under control. That means that we’re readjusting to life in many ways, which can mean transitioning back to the office or to school.
Of course, many employers are going to keep using eLearning tools, online technology, and communication platforms, and many will offer a hybrid schedule. Even so, you might be expected to go back into the office sometimes, even if you’re working for an employer that’s not going to require you to return full-time.
Whether you’re being called back to the office full-time or for a hybrid schedule, the following are some tips to help you readjust after a year of so many unexpected changes.
Think About Bringing Joy to Your Workspace
The pandemic may have forced you to dedicate space in your home as your work area. You probably put your personal touches on it, and you might have found that working in a space you loved made the day more pleasant.
You can bring that back to the office with you. Liven up your work area with little touches, whether it’s fresh flowers, family photos, or some art.
Think about some of the things that you enjoyed about working from home and see if there are ways you can integrate those into this transitional time.
Focus on the Positives
While you might feel anxious or unsure about what to expect going back to the office, rather than focusing on the negative, focus on the positives.
For example, you get to see people face-to-face, and that’s going to give you the chance to rebuild those social connections that are important to all of our lives. You may feel less lonely and more energized.
You might also find that you’re going to have better productivity when you return to your office environment. It can be easier to maintain a work-life balance, too, when there’s a separation between your work and home lives, which many people haven’t had for the past year.
Talk to Your Boss About Any Concerns You May Have
If you’re especially worried about something or how things will go when returning to work, or you just have questions or need clarification, it’s okay to ask. There are a lot of things that are uncertain right now, and asking can help alleviate some of your anxiety.
Be Clear With Your Boundaries
If you still want to social distance, that’s okay, and that’s also understandable. Everyone has been through a lot and has different comfort levels with physical closeness. If you want to social distance, be clear with your coworkers from the start.
Ask If You Can Do a Gradual Return
When it comes to transitioning into anything new in our lives, some of us work best by doing it gradually.
Your boss may let you have some flexibility in how you return. For example, maybe you start by coming into the office one or two days a week. You might operate on a hybrid schedule for the time being, with the assumption that you’ll return to the office full-time.
If you have ideas for how you’d like to do things, and you think your boss might have some flexibility, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Dress for Success
For over a year, so many people were living in their sweats. That can seem like fun at first. You don’t have to spend money on expensive work clothes, and you can focus on comfort.
Now, however, use this time to buy yourself some new clothes and enjoy once again dressing for work.
That’ll give you a little nudge of motivation and something to look forward to if you’re feeling apprehensive.
Find Support If You Need It
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or any mix of emotions right now, you aren’t alone. Most people are.
If your feelings are going beyond what you might think is normal, or your emotions are out-of-proportion to what you’re experiencing, then seek support. This might be as simple as talking to someone you love and trust about your feelings, or maybe you talk to a counselor or therapist.
You have to take care of yourself first and foremost before you can be a good employee or anything else for that matter.
While many employers are going to keep a hybrid schedule, and you probably aren’t seeing the last of those Zoom meetings and online training sessions, you might also have to move back into more traditional work too.