Returning to the Workplace. Are you ready?

Despite many of my peers saying: Nope, they are not going back to the workplace, or will not be going back full time, many organisations are reducing their Work from Home allowances to encourage or force people to come back to work. I wrote a blog on this last year and whilst the topic remains the same, it has moved on somewhat. This has caused a mix of feelings amongst the people that I connect with on social media and I wanted to spend some time to discuss this topic, what it means, how you can adjust and some useful tips if you are struggling:

  • Be aware that you will feel more tired at the start
    • For the last year, you will have been working predominantly from your home location. This means when you start adding in the commute, additional walking and mental effort, that you will be more tired at the end of the day
  • Start back slow
    • If you can negotiate this: try to plan a slow phased return to the office. 1 day a week, 2 days a week with days in between.
  • Think about your family
    • I saw this image posted on Twitter and it really did appeal to me. In the past year, our pets have been spoiled with our constant companionship and being around during the day. If you pet struggles with the separation or struggles to adapt, consider getting a dog walker or reintroducing small absences during the day for them to get used to you not being around as much
      • Please note: my dog sleeps 90% of the day and does not care if I’m even around!
    • An additional factor is considering how you plan your days. If you are commuting, you may need to look at how you manage pick ups/ drop offs for your children/ dependents.
  • Be aware of how unproductive you may be
    • On the first few days/weeks that you are back in the office, you need to prepare yourself that you may not get as much done productively as you are getting re-acquainted with team members and colleagues. I was discussing this with a friend and this is one reason that they do not want to go back to the office: “I simply have too much to do at the moment to spend hours being disrupted by my lovely colleagues”.
  • Think about the routine that you want for yourself moving forward
    • This could be the start of something new. This could be the start of a new routine that you can create that will give you greater work/life balance. When you return to the office, consider how you approach your days. Could you listen to some audiobooks rather than work on your commute? Could you take a walk at lunch?

What if you really do not want to return to the workplace?

This is a question that I have been asked a lot in the recent week(s). If you are finding that your priorities have changed, then you need to look at discussing this re-adjustment with your organisation, or alternatively, looking for another job. Thankfully, due to the pandemic, many organisations have shifted and I am seeing a great demand for remote work. As a Project Manager, this has really inspired me as I’ve been headhunted for jobs in very sunny locations, or with a great opportunity to travel/ working hours.

Conclusion:

The pandemic has really shook all of us. It’s changed how many of us are working and how we think… so when we look at how we want to return to the office, let’s switch the discussion to: How can I make my career, work in the best way for me as an individual? What are the most important parts of my life and how can I bring this into balance with my career?

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