There are certain things that are difficult to change. As humans, we are more adept at keeping our schedules tailored and we would falter if there’s a deviation. Of course, the current situation has affected a lot of lives and schedules, yet we have managed to plow through. As we get back to the office, it’s going to be different. Not the usual simple return after annual leave. It’s going to take a bit more easing, to get back to an in-person setting. The anxiety is palpable and one that needs to be addressed. A lot of fears and triggers may be running through our minds.
A simple plan of action will definitely help those invited back to their offices. The return is inevitable as companies look forward to having their employees return to the office, albeit with a few changes. Here are a couple of ways to tackle the much-awaited office reentry.
The fear and anxiety that we had when we suddenly shifted to work from home holds true the other way round. With time though, our routines became predictable and adjustable. We are bound to feel slightly tense when going back to the office because of the recent changes. We can certainly ease in well with these few points.
Embrace these new beginnings – take going back to the office as a refreshing challenge and embrace the change. Remember that it’s the same old setting, the offices, and the spaces that were left behind. We’re going back to familiar surroundings. Maybe it would be good to revamp the space, add new decor, change the furnishings or convert the personal office space into something that soothes the mind. We could also think of converting our own cubicles to replicate those at home, which has become a part of our work from home routine.
Appreciate the emotional dimension of returning to the office – we must admit that the pandemic has changed us emotionally and physically. We must also acknowledge our resilience in adapting and embracing the changes that we’ve made due to the pandemic. It would have been difficult to keep in touch with colleagues only via virtual media. Let’s accept that all of us have undergone hardships and learned valuable lessons. The same goes for our colleagues. We must be aware that they have had a hard time as well and expect subtle changes to personalities. Hence, it would only be right to remain mindful of the emotional and behavioral differences that we may come across in our colleagues. It’s prudent to reiterate here, that we should respect the other person’s space and give them the time to get back to where things had been.
Drawing up feasible plans – if we are feeling up to it, not thinking about the extreme conditions that we’ve passed through recently, it would be an easy transition back. There is, however, a high chance of it being slightly overwhelming for a lot of us. Therefore, it is advisable to schedule a meeting with colleagues and superiors to understand the regulations of the company. What changes have the company made? What are their expectations of being back in the office? What additional tasks or terms will employees have to follow? How has the company planned to welcome back its employees after a long hiatus? There are several aspects that need to be discussed in such a situation so that everyone is on the same page.
It should not seem like a difficult transition. Companies should ensure that the office is a safe place to work, considering the infection that is still very much present. Once such a discussion is done, we can chart our own plans by working with these points in mind. It goes without saying that we need to maintain a work-life balance and make plans accordingly. The first few days back in the office may seem tiring, thus having a few tips to unwind after a long day would help to keep those stressors in check.
The range of emotions that we may feel at the thought of returning to offices can be from dread to anxiety to excitement. We need to realize that it wasn’t simple for any of us and that it’s alright to feel this way. Apart from the points discussed above, there are several other ways that can make this easier. What we need to do is keep an open mind, follow the government mandates regarding the pandemic, and gradually settle into the offices.