According to a survey conducted by PwC, 70% of over 1000 workers stated that several factors prevented them from returning to the office, namely fear of getting sick, commute and lack of reliable solutions for childcare. If you are an employee that feels the same way, know that you aren’t alone. After working remotely for over 18 months, the return to work can definitely be challenging.
So you’ve been asked to head back into the office. How do you prepare yourself? Here are four tips.
⏰ Get back into your routine
If you’ve been working from home for the past year or so, chances are you’re used to late mornings and flexible schedules. Prepare for your return to the office by trying to get back to your pre-work routine. Go to bed on time, wake up a little earlier and prepare yourself for the commute to the office. If you’re someone that brings lunch to work, meal prep the night before so you can just grab it on your way out in the morning. If you get coffee on your way to work, keep extra time on hand, as there will be queues and social distancing measures in place at cafes.
🦠 Review your organisation’s safety protocols
The pandemic has changed how we work in the office. And as employers all over the world are opening their doors, they will have created safety protocols to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. It is always helpful to know what these measures are before returning to the office. This will help you stay informed, know what is expected of you and calm your anxiety about returning to work. In addition to the safety protocols of your workplace, have your own protective equipment like a mask and hand sanitiser with you on your way to work.
🗣 Communicate with your team
The transition from working remotely to working from the office again can be tough, mentally and emotionally. That is why it is essential to have good communication with your line managers and your team members during this time. If you are a leader of your team, lay out the expectations for your team. If you aren’t, make sure to have a chat with your line manager about your expectations, the expectations of your company and how your team can accommodate each other. Going back to a 9 to 5 routine can sometimes make you anxious, therefore speak with your manager if there is any chance you could build a more flexible workweek.
💛 Be patient
Just like you, your colleagues have also gone through tough times. Some might have even lost their loved ones to the pandemic. Therefore, it is crucial to understand that not everyone will be overjoyed to be back in the office. Follow proper etiquette and give them the benefit of the doubt when you’re in a challenging situation.
In a world where protocols and regulations change every single day, your workplace may have to adapt on the fly. Manage your expectations well so that when changes do occur, you don’t get nervous or irritated. Finally, be patient with your manager and the top management. Keep in mind that they have the added pressure of managing their own transition alongside helping you manage yours.
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