For many people, September will mark a real return to normal, as employees all over the country return to the office. Even if it’s on a flex schedule where it will only be a couple of days a week, the sheer thought can fill you full of anxiety. It’s to be expected. For the last 18 months or so you’ve been working remotely in your comfy clothes, having virtual meetings, and enjoying all the comforts of home while doing your job.
So how do you make the transition back? It’s not like you didn’t manage for all those years before the pandemic hit, but it still feels like you can’t even remember what it feels like to “go” to work. The following tips should help get you back to your old ways without too much stress
Remember your old routine. Think back to how you used to do things. What time did you normally go to bed? What time did you get up? Did you shower in the morning or the night before? You have to get back to that or you’re going to have a tough time. Start doing these things now before your official “back to the office day” so you can ease back into your routine comfortably.
Consider drive time. Not everyone will be returning to their respective jobs at the same time and some will continue to work remotely full time. Don’t assume because of this you can leave the house later than normal to be on time. You’ll also have to check into road construction. It’s been a year and a half since you made the drive. Do you know if any of the roads on your route are under construction?
Think lunch. While you’re working from home it’s easy to go to the fridge and grab something for lunch or whip yourself up a quick salad or sandwich. Now you have to start thinking about bringing your lunch to work again. Do a little ahead of time meal planning to get you back in the mode. Create a list for a few weeks until you get your groove back.
Dinner too. Now that you’re going to be away for the day, what will you feed the family after work? Do you need to pull something from the freezer? Once you’re at work it’s too late. Lists and notes are a great way to keep you in check. Better yet, download an organizing app that you can plug all your reminders into.
Get back in the office frame of mind. We’re all more laid-back at home. Our mindset, attire, and overall attitudes, are just more casual. There likely won’t be a dog lying under your desk either. Now that you’re going back into the office you’ll have to channel your inner professional a little more. Don’t forget that you’re going to be around fellow employees and bosses all day who expect that same productive person that they could count on before.
Make a to-do list. Slipping away from your desk to do a load of laundry or vacuum the living room during the workday is a thing of the past. These things will now have to be done during your free time so before you get overwhelmed, it would be a good idea to plan when you will take care of your regular household chores. The schedule you make will morph over time but in the beginning, it will help you stay organized instead of flustered.
Seek and give support. Remember you aren’t the only one who has to readjust to the return to normalcy. Be open and honest about your own concerns and do your best to support co-workers that are also having a tough time. For many, this won’t be easy and the best thing you can have is a strong support group behind you.
At the end of the day, you really aren’t doing anything you didn’t do before this pandemic hit. You will likely wonder how you could have possibly managed before, but you did. And you will again- we promise!