Irrespective of your profession or age, just the thought of returning to the office post-lockdown can be uncomfortable for many. From skyrocketing levels of anxiety and new WFH routines to snoozing alarms and endless video calls, these past months have given us a taste of many new things. But as lockdown restrictions ease, it is now time for some of us to head back into the office. This transition can be daunting, considering the fact that it’s been months since we’ve stepped into the office and seen our colleagues in person.
Here are eight tips that will help you confront this new reality of returning to the office post lockdown and assist you in preparing yourself for it –
⌚ REHEARSE YOUR RETURN
We are not strangers to the fact that remote working is synonymous with more sleep. However, if you’re soon going to be going back into the office, this routine will have to change. Start rehearsing your return to the office by waking up earlier, having breakfast and getting ready just the way you would, before lockdown.
Preparing yourself mentally is just as important. Take a couple of minutes daily to visualise positively how you will look and feel when you’re back in the office. Think of the little aspects of work you have missed, like seeing your colleagues and grabbing lunch from your favourite local eatery.
🧠 PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
With cases of COVID-19 on the rise and news that’s not entirely positive, it can be unnerving to return to the office. Especially so, if you live in a crowded city or use public transport. Managing your stress is extremely essential to make this transition easier. Make it a point to exercise every day even if it is a quick YouTube workout or a couple of yoga poses. You can also try meditation apps like Calm and Headspace to help you stay calmer throughout this phase.
🙏 BE KIND
It is essential to be kind to yourself and your colleagues. The pandemic has had an impact on every team member in one way or another. Some people might have been ill, are bereaving a member of their family or suffering from extreme anxiety. It is vital to make your team members feel like they are coming back to an environment that is supportive and inclusive. Striking up conversations that are light-hearted and checking on your co-workers can go a long way in making them feel better.
🔍 REVIEW SAFETY PROTOCOLS
The pandemic has changed the look and feel of the office. Your organisation will have definitely created protocols and safety guidelines to ensure your safety. If possible, go over this plan before your return. This will help you stay informed and calm your nerves about your return to the office. In addition to social distancing and sanitisation stations, make sure there are alternatives in place to sharing stationery and dishes in the kitchenette.
If your organisation does not have a plan yet, you can always suggest safety measures or ask your management team to keep you informed of any updates.
😷 PROTECT YOUR OWN HYGIENE
Even though your employer has measures in place to protect you, it is still a good idea to follow the basic measures you took at home. Wash your hands as frequently as possible, especially if you have touched doorknobs or shared office equipment. Make it a habit to clean your desk, keyboard, mouse and monitor with anti-bacterial wipes before you start and finish your workday. Refrain from touching your nose, eyes, mouth throughout the day and inform your management if you or a team member show any symptoms.
🎶 DO THINGS THAT (REALLY) MAKE YOU HAPPY
The activities you turn to as an escape might be the ones tying you down. Simple things like watching the news all day long, scrolling mindlessly late into the night and eating junk can ramp up your anxiety and drain your energy. Making small positive tweaks to your routine can help your ability to be resilient and of course, happy. Listening to calming music, eating and sleeping on time, catching up on your favourite read or even wearing clothes that make you feel good can instantly brighten up your day.
👍 REMEMBER THAT A LITTLE ANXIETY IS NATURAL
As humans, we’re always looking for order. We love plans, routines and habits. This pandemic has changed these routines and this is why we feel anxious. Remind yourself that however hard the lockdown was, you managed to adjust. So even if going back into normal life seems hard, you will cope. Give yourself some extra time to settle in, and before you know it, you’ll blend right in. Check-in with yourself every night before you go to be and analyse how you feel mentally and physically. Remind yourself that it’s okay to feel this anxiety because it is not permanent.
Still have some time before you finally return to the office? Check out our Home Office Essentials that are sure to make your WFH experience a breeze!