COVID-19 has changed the way many people are working. With “shelter in place” and “pause” orders in effect, those who are able to, are working from home to prevent the disease from spreading. However, sooner or later, many of these employees will be returning to work in the office and adjusting to a “new normal.”
Although it can be scary to return to work after COVID-19, there are a few ways to mentally prepare. Here are a few tips that can help you make a smooth transition back to the office.
Start waking up earlier
A big perk of working from home is the ability to avoid a commute, and many are taking advantage of this by sleeping in. If you’ve gotten too friendly with your snooze button, try waking up earlier to ease back into your old routine. Remember to start this transition earlier rather than later to give you more time to adjust to the change. You will thank yourself in the long run if you slowly get back to your old schedule.
Prepare your things the night before your first day in the office
Along with waking up earlier, you’ll want to think about preparing yourself for the reality of a commute and a full day away from your home. If you usually meal prep your lunches or bring coffee to work, for example, you will want to prepare those items the night before and make them readily available in the morning. This is one simple way to make your morning easier when you return to work.
Focus on your mental health
With so much news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be daunting to return to the office, especially if you work in a busy city. If you want to make the transition back to the office easier, make sure you are managing your stress. If you can, take the time to participate in an activity that can help relieve anxiety such as exercising or taking a walk around your neighborhood. You can also try meditation apps such as Calm, Headspace or Simple Habit to help you manage your stress.
Review any safety protocols your organization has in place
Overall, COVID-19 is changing the way people work in the office. To combat this, many organizations are creating protocols and safety guides to ensure employee safety. It can be helpful to go over your organization’s safety plan prior to returning to the office. This will keep you stay informed and may calm your nerves about returning to work. If your organization does not yet have a plan in place, ask HR or your leadership team to keep you informed of any updates and policy changes.
Communicate with your team members
Transitioning from working from home to going back to your office can be tough. That is why it is so important to practice transparency and strong communication with your team members during this time. If you’re a manager or supervisor, for example, lay out expectations for your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page. If you are not in a leadership role, it is still important to communicate with your team members and manager about your expectations in the office and how your team can accommodate one another. Once your team has a game plan, you might even start to feel excited about returning to the office!