Five Tips for a Seamless Transition Back into the Office

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Mary Bleech

May 12 2022
The time we thought would never arrive has finally come: many of us are heading back into our brick and mortar workspaces. On the one hand, it can be helpful to have a designated workspace outside the home. Yet, it can also be incredibly scary to throw yourself back into the old “normal” routine – even if you’re going into a new, hybrid model. 

What makes this transition so unsettling? We’ve grown accustomed to the luxury of rolling out of bed, throwing on a work shirt (while keeping on those flannel pajama pants) and logging on for the day right inside our homes. There’s been no need to account for traffic, no concern for how the weather might affect our ability to make it into work on time, and no need to rush through our short lunch breaks. Substituting those hours of commuting for extra sleep, mindfulness activities, and new hobbies has been a great perk of the time at home, and it’s a frightening idea that we might lose it.

Beyond those adjustments,  it’s a little nerve wracking to go back into the office because we just can’t imagine interacting with others in the same ways we used to. After all, the body language, eye contact, and small talk we were all accustomed to have been eliminated by working from home. The several years of isolation took us out of practice of socializing like we once did, and – let’s face it – Zoom calls just aren’t the same. If these worries are keeping you up at night, know that you’re not alone. Nevertheless, we hope your fears will be alleviated and replaced with both confidence and anticipation for your upcoming return using these five transitional tips:

1. Be prepared
Benjamin Franklin once said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – so start early! About a week before your transition, make sure you’re caught up on any new protocol your company may have changed in light of the pandemic. If they aren’t provided by your company, gather sanitation supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer to ensure that you feel safe inside. Then, the night before, do as much as you can to make the following morning a breeze: lay out your outfit, pack your lunch, fill up your water bottle, and make sure any materials you may have to take with you are all in one place. Having these tasks taken care of will allow for much more relaxed mornings.
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2. Connect with your colleagues
It’s important to make sure we’re getting in those social interactions after spending so much time alone. Human connection reduces depression and anxiety while increasing self-esteem, all of which offer a smoother experience in the office. Forgotten how to make conversation? That’s why ChattyKathi is here to help. With just a few simple steps in signing up, you and your coworkers will have psychologist-verified prompts delivered to you – immediately giving you things to talk about when you get back into the office And if these conversations leave you wanting more, use the new insights you find out through ChattyKathi as an opportunity to invite a colleague for coffee!

3. Take some time to reflect on your values
With extra time on our hands at home and so much changing in the world, hopefully you’ve had the opportunity to reevaluate what’s important to you and the kind of life you aspire to live. If you haven’t yet, we invite you to consider the following questions: What are your top priorities? When you’re older, what are the kinds of memories you want to have?
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4. Use your reflections to produce goals and boundaries
Once you’ve taken the time to consider some of these values, use them to set goals and boundaries; in other words, let this new chapter become a fresh start. Maybe that means not missing out on any more family events; maybe you’re aiming to not sacrifice your mental and physical health at the cost of working overtime anymore. On the other hand, maybe you’re aiming to be more intentional and present within your working hours to make a stronger difference within your company. Whatever your goals may be, write them down and refer to them often once you’ve made this transition.
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5. Remember that you’re not alone
Finally, remember that you’re not the only one going through this! Half of company leaders intend to bring their employees back into the office. So, through the overwhelming emotions of this time, phone a friend who might understand exactly what you’re going through. The support of your friends and family can make a world of difference during this time – and we’re rooting for you, too!
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