Working conditions have changed dramatically since the COVID pandemic, forcing many companies to switch their workforce to remote work in order to keep the wheels of commerce turning. Many employees welcomed the change, even 3d artists in a junior positions. The benefits of working from home were obvious: no tiresome commutes, no need to dress up for the office, and a more flexible schedule. Zoom calls were quick, to the point, and efficient. But it proved to be a big adjustment for many.
The loss of familiar routines and structures made it difficult to adapt and focus on work. But just as most employees began to adapt to the new “normal” and actually enjoy the comfort of working informally from home, the pandemic waned. Most companies began to transition their workforce back to the office, leaving many employees feeling anxious at having to adjust to the old way of doing things.
With this in mind, we teamed up with the experts from job aggregator Jooble to look at some useful tips on how to adapt to working back in the office after working remotely.
Returning to on-site employment after a long period of absence can be stressful for various reasons. Going back to the office means that we have to re-adjust most aspects of our workday lives. Resuming work in a crowded office, the commute, face-to-face interactions, and wearing professional workday clothes can all contribute to high levels of stress. Many employees who had been required to dramatically change their work habits over the course of months have found this second transition back to the office very hard, resulting in a period of re-adjustment and anxiety for many.
Re-establishing familiar workday routines
If you’ve been working from home, the idea of getting up early for work every morning can seem like a distant memory. You probably had a morning routine that was organized and well-defined before the pandemic. The key is to revive those old, yet familiar routines. Go over the process of going back to work in advance. Set an alarm and start waking up early every day as though you were getting ready for the commute. Assemble your business clothes in advance and choose outfits that make you feel good. By planning your workday routine beforehand you won’t be caught off-guard when that day finally arrives.
A gradual versus abrupt return
The pandemic has caused employers to re-evaluate their attitude toward productivity at home. They have become more amenable to compromise, and open to trying a new way of working such as hybrid employment. The hybrid model is a mixture of remote and on-site work where most of the work is done at home, with one or two days a week spent in the office. You may be able to consider the hybrid model, depending on the type of work you do and the organization you’re working for. If you feel more comfortable with the hybrid idea, suggest it to your employer, even if it’s on a trial basis.
Boundaries and empathy
When employees were forced to work from home, it became nearly impossible to distinguish between work and home life while sitting at an improvised desk in the bedroom or kitchen, with family buzzing in the background.
As a result, boundaries became blurred between work and relaxation. Going back to the office will give you the opportunity to re-establish those boundaries as well as reconnect with co-workers. Many of your co-workers may be experiencing a variety of pressures and anxieties similar to yours. Be mindful of this and treat your co-workers with the same understanding and empathy that you yourself might need to help you through a difficult period of transition.
Reconnecting with co-workers
Although it’s a crucial part of working, interacting with others can be stressful for some. You may be concerned that you won’t fit in at work after spending so much time alone. You will feel less isolated if you communicate openly with others who can relate to your concerns. Make a concerted effort to reconnect with your co-workers in a positive way. Make plans to have coffee, have lunch together, or do some other social activity to catch up after returning to the workplace. Spending your first few days back at work with people you know will be comforting. This could be especially beneficial if you need support.
For many, going back to the office won’t be easy after working remotely from home. The work environment may seem rigid and confining after the freedom of working informally. But over time, you will settle in, perhaps even welcome a more structured working environment, and enjoy being able to interact with colleagues once more.