Many of us have been working from home for over a year now and have grown accustomed to a routine with no daily commutes, Microsoft Team calls, and the flexibility that comes with having your house double as your work-space. As states continue to reopen and more Americans get vaccinated, the return to in-person work in the office is inevitable for most workers. The idea of transitioning back to regular work can bring up stress and anxiety for many people – especially for those who have young children or other people they still need to take care of. Here are some considerations and tips to ease the transition back into the office.
Continue to Take COVID-19 Precautions
Even if you and everyone in the office has had their COVID-19 vaccine, it is still a good idea to have a mask handy, wash your hands frequently, and avoid sharing work supplies with coworkers. Although the vaccine is highly effective, continuing to take precautions against COVID will further decrease likelihood of getting sick (from anything!) and adds an extra layer of protection for you and your household. Taking precautions in the workplace is particularly important if you are someone in your household is at risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
Connect with Coworkers
Social isolation has been one of the many negative consequences of the pandemic. Communicating with coworkers will be some of the first socializing many people will have experienced in months, so it is important to check in with them. While following precautions, catch up with your coworkers and promote a sense of community throughout the office – it will be helpful to know that no one is going through this transition alone.
Your office (hopefully) will provide you with notification ahead of time that you will be coming back to work in person. Start preparing for this transition by modifying your routine. You may want to practice waking up earlier to prepare for your commute and plan errands and chores around the 9-5 work schedule. If you have children or someone you need to take care of at home, collaborate with your supervisor to create a schedule that works for you, such as a hybrid one that allows you to work from home a few days a week.
Have Regular Check-Ins with Yourself
Although going back to the office is a sign that the pandemic is nearing its end, the constant change to routine can be stressful. Additionally, many people may still have anxieties about getting COVID or passing it along to a loved one that is exacerbated by being around more people. Check in with yourself about your stress levels going back to the office and think about how some of these anxieties could be reduced. For example, if you are worried about risking the health of you and your household by going back into the office, work with your supervisor to come a solution. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of a more rigid 9-5 schedule, start practicing an in-office work schedule at home a few days before hand.
Hopefully these tips will make transitioning back to in-office work a little easier. If you take anything away from article, remember to prioritize managing your stress and your health.