The End of The Home Office? How To Prepare For Your Office Return

As the world is slowly getting back to normal, we are getting out of the comfort of our houses back into our offices. Here are some tips to make this transition easier.

The home office was a different experience for so many people. For some of us, it was a blissful one. 

We got to be introverted, stay home, work in our pyjamas and day drink from the comfort of our couch. For others, the office is the place where we divide private life from work life, and once these two got mixed up together it was a mish-mash and we lost control. 

As days and months went by, being the adaptable human beings we are, we got also used to the working from home regime. 

Now, all of a sudden, we have to change it all up again. The vaccination process is advancing worldwide, and employees are getting back to their old policies of working from the office. 

First days in, and we notice all the tension and chaos all around us, we see too many people and interact with all of them. We end up exhausted as there is really no productivity these days, and we’re still getting used to the new, but old routine.

“Most of my patients who are able to work from home value the perks of flexibility and zero commute time. 

“Some of them have reported more productivity while working by themselves at home, and perceive social interactions at work as either distressing or distracting.” – Rashmi Parmar, MD, adult and child psychiatrist with Community Psychiatry, interviewed for verywellmind.

But we don’t have to beat ourselves up or take it all in at once. Changes do shatter our comfort zone, but with a smooth transition, we can certainly make it through these shifts.


Start Slow

One of the most important things to remind yourself, is that you can choose to start slow. If interacting with people is taking a toll on you, start by practicing and only visit your two to three closest colleagues first. 

You can take one step at a time with other co-workers, and catch up with them in the meantime, as they’ll probably have loads to share too. 

And speaking of sharing, we must remind ourselves that the quarantine and Covid-19 continue to impact us in heavy ways. Do not feel pressured to say that you have learned new skills, have started a new sport, or that you have learned a new language. 

Really, only surviving and keeping sane in the bizarre previous year, should be our greatest pride!

Good Times

Thinking positively and optimistically is also a choice, as really, not all things about getting back to work are as bad. I mean, we all know that the biggest role that our jobs have in our lives is that they provide us a sense of belonging. 

You belong to a community, and you connect with that community a minimum of 6-8 hours per day. 

Hearing about their experiences and sharing concerns will get us back to that very human need of socialisation, and sooner or later, you will see yourself all grateful for being able to close your laptop in the office and not taking work at home. 


Finding The Balance

Depending on the work environment and the relationships you have cultivated there, you can also discuss with your employee and see if you can figure out a hybrid working style. Say, you can go to the office three times a week, and work from home two times per week. 

This could also make for a smooth transition, and as long as you get the job done, it shouldn’t really matter to your boss either. If there’s one thing that this pandemic has made clear is that we are definitely able to function remotely. 

Especially now with so many platforms like Zoom which have eased up our working from home, by allowing us to attend meetings in pyjamas. 

Now, there’s another thing for which people report to be feeling anxious about, and that is the social norms of interacting, such as hugging and shaking hands. 

And this is pretty normal, especially considering that the safety precautions of the pandemic are still ongoing. If you’re also experiencing anxiety regarding this issue, do take some time to talk to yourself and develop a plan according to what way of interacting feels best for you. 

Boundaries are very healthy, and if you set them in time, you will provide co-workers with a clear idea on how they’re going to have to approach you. 

Remember that feeling safe is a priority, and you should not sacrifice your mental health only to comply with norms and standards of ‘politeness’. 

A smile, wave, or a pleasant nod is surely enough to greet anyone.

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