7 Ways to Get Ready to Return to the Office
After two years of isolation, the pandemic has changed everyone's routine life personally and professionally. As things are getting better, people are going back to their normal life and returning to the office in person. Some people enjoyed this slow paced life more as they found enough time for themselves and their families to strengthen their bond which they were unable to do in the normal busy routine life due to their hectic and tiring working schedules. On the contrary, there are some people who found this unusual situation extremely depressing due to isolation and no physical social interactions.
Overall, COVID-19 impacted everyone in different ways. If we talk about the pros and cons of staying indoor and the work from home routine, there were many advantages like flexibility and comfort, working in ease in the comfort of your home. This was a great feeling for many people as there was no need to get dressed up formally and no need to worry about getting late as we were not worried about getting stuck in traffic or taking public transit to get to work.
The idea of going back to the office after such a long time may feel unsettling but the exposure will help us build up our social connections that can also help us improve productivity and energy. Despite the many adjustments everyone made, most people are now preparing to return to the office so here are 7 ways to help you prepare yourself for another change while you return to “normal life”.
1. Get to know your company's new COVID policies
In order to ensure workplace safety pertains to COVID, companies have redesigned their policies and procedures. Mild illnesses such as cold and flu were considered to be a minor sickness but now the culture has changed in most companies. It is no longer an accepted practice, now even if you have a slightest feeling of being sick, you have to immediately report to your manager or HR department. You may also be required to apply for a sick leave or work from home as there is a high chance of spreading sickness.
You might notice that the seating arrangement in your office space has also been changed. Although the risk of corona virus has been reduced, there is still a high chance of a new variant. Therefore, in order to ensure safety protocols, you may still be required to practice some sort of social distancing and meetings may be held at your desk rather than in a conference room with multiple people. Another important aspect to discuss with your manager is regarding in-office working hours. Many companies are offering hybrid work schedules instead of full-time to provide more flexibility to employees.
2. Prepare your work wardrobe
To return to the office routine, check out your wardrobe as it may need to be updated after being unused the past two years. While working in the comfort of your bed or makeshift dinner table, you might have been attending meetings via zoom or other online conferencing apps. Thus your outfit may not have been as much of a concern as before when formal attire including formal shoes was required in the office. Now that you will have to go through a transition phase, this first step to get back on track would be more interesting for many, as the majority like to do shopping and it’s a good time to splurge on some nice office wear. Buy new semi formal and office appropriate clothes that will also motivate you to get dressed up and head out to the office.
3. Adjust your routine
This pandemic has brought so many changes in our daily routine, from getting up in the morning to going back to bed at night. It is going to be difficult to adjust to the office routine after such a long break. There are many things that need to be sorted out like household chores or babysitting arrangements. These changes can be overwhelming at first but you need to take time and manage things before starting a new routine. Firstly, you need to fix your sleep schedule as work from home may have given you the benefit of longer sleeping hours. Now it’s time to set the alarm to wake up on time, don’t overdo yourself on this and try to get up an hour or two earlier every day keeping in mind the commute to the office.
4. Outsource cooking
You must be wondering who is going to cook now with this new busy routine? The answer is you can outsource homemade food from HouseCook.ca. In this lockdown, most of you might have started preparing homemade food, otherwise it was common practice to go out for lunch break and consume junk food. Now that you will be going to the office you do not have to worry about grocery shopping and cooking after a long day of work when HouseCook is there to provide you Pakistani/Indian dishes in affordable prices. Even throwing a party won’t be an issue because you can avail HouseCook’s catering services.
HouseCook is different than any other tiffin service provider because it is truly homestyle food, not restaurant style in any way. And the best part is that HouseCook offers two different menus. HouseCook offers a complete low-carb meal plan and desi Pakistani/Indian prepared meal delivery.
5. Arranging daycare
If you have a family and kids then one of the challenges you are going to face is to look for a good daycare facility. Offices have reopened yet many childcare facilities are still closed or fully booked. Finding a good daycare can be daunting and may take you a while to find a good daycare that suits your need. Therefore, you should look for some backup options. We have faced the most difficult situations during this pandemic and if there is anything we have learned from this is that we can create our own ways and adjust in any difficulty. You need to push yourself to step out of your comfort zone and start managing things bit by bit. Look out for families in your social circle that you can easily get along with and trust them with childcare. You can also help them by looking after their kids when needed. In addition, try to set a schedule that coordinates with your family’s schedule so the kids can stay with their family members rather than any outsider or babysitter. Furthermore, you can share some responsibilities with the families that share the same pickup and drop-off times and their kids are in the same school. Otherwise, there is always an option to hire any reliable babysitter or nanny which most families used to have pre-pandemic.
6. Manage your budget/spending
Undoubtedly, work from home saved individuals from a lot of expenditures like commuting, lunch with colleagues, office clothes shopping, and more. Before you resume your office life, it’s a good idea to sit and review your expenses thoroughly. You might want to be vigilant about the extra expendables like coffee or meals you take during the day and commuting cost. You should look for ways to minimize your expenses as in the start it will take a toll on your wallet and it is best to plan ahead. Consider taking home-cooked food which you can put in your office refrigerator, reheat for a few mins and enjoy delicious meals without putting a dent in your pocket. Using a meal delivery company such as HouseCook can help with this as it can save you time and money.
7. Other steps to alleviate stress
It's completely fine to feel social anxiety after being in a long isolation period. Some may find it hard to be in a room full of people again and to get along with colleagues. Slow and steady steps will help you attain your professional confidence. Don't forget handshakes are not a meeting gesture anymore, you can use other ideas to develop a friendly bond with your co-workers. These range from a friendly smile to offering coffee or meals somewhere outside in an open air or well ventilated space to develop healthy and professional bonds. Outlining what you find comfortable and building a plan accordingly will help you feel better. If you are not comfortable with something, talk about it to the concerned person. You may be granted some sort of hybrid approach for temporarily till you feel relaxed. With a hybrid work schedule, you can visit the office whenever you need to but try to focus on quality work and improving productivity as you adjust to returning to the office.