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How to Ease the Transition Back to On-Site Work During & After COVID-19

With stay-at-home restrictions slowly lifting, companies are getting ready to bring back their employees to the office. But just like moving to a remote work style, transitioning back to the office after COVID-19 restrictions will be an adjustment for employees and employers alike.


⬇ Read the tips below ⬇

The global workforce has generally adapted to working from home, balancing our personal and work lives, and learning how to manage a blended lifestyle. We now have access to the unique comforts of our homes while we work, like sitting on the couch during virtual meetings, grabbing our favorite cozy blanket when we get cold, and tidying up between tasks. Transitioning back to on-site work will be challenging and overwhelming for some, while others might be excited at the chance to have some normalcy back in their lives.

Whether you are wary or ready, here are some tips to help ease the transition back to work in the office.

 


Keeping some employees remote or working from home part-time long-term? Explore more of our remote working resources and tools >

 

1. Transition Your Remote Skills

 

Managing New Remote Workers required learning new skills and habits to keep yourself and your team connected and productive. You do not want to leave those skills behind when transitioning back to the office. Instead, leverage these skills so they can help you work even more productively at the office.

During the quarantine, you more than likely had to learn how to manage your time more effectively by finding ways to hold yourself and your team accountable. Whether through time management apps or daily task lists, using your new habits will have the same benefits in the office as they did while working remotely. Overcommunicating probably dominated your daily routine while working from home. This helped keep you and your team stay focused and responsible for work assignments. It's a great habit to continue when transitioning back to work; you can set daily meetings with your team to keep everyone on track and stay connected.

Another skill you may have picked up is learning to avoid distractions and interruptions. When going back to the office, there will be different disruptions, some harder than others to avoid. Having noise cancelling headphones at your desk will help you to block out the office chatter when you need to concentrate. Also, setting time on your calendar for heads-down focus can signal to others you are busy and cannot afford the interruption.

 


Check out other tips on how to overcome common work-from-home challenges >

 

2. Keep a (Somewhat Different) Routine

 

While working from home, chances are you have restructured your routine to fit better with your new work style. The flexibility of remote work may have allowed you to sleep in later, start an exercise regime, or sip your morning coffee in your pajamas sorting emails. Whatever new schedule you started while working remotely, it will need to be revised and reprioritized when transitioning back to on-site work.


The biggest thing to think about, and probably the most dreaded thing, is the commute to and from work. This may take up a big chunk of your morning and evening, so give yourself time to adjust to the change in routine and schedule. You will need to plan how early to wake up to get dressed and ready for work, or how to still fit in your daily workout. It is a good idea to plan the night before by preparing your gym bag with everything you need or laying out your work clothes and meal prepping lunches.


In addition to a daily commute, going back to the office means returning to set working hours and losing some of the flexibility that came with working remotely. You will need to schedule your personal tasks and errands around set working hours or during breaks.


One idea is to make a list of the essential tasks you want to complete daily and schedule them into your calendar. If exercise is important, put it in your calendar, perhaps in the morning or on your lunch break. Same with groceries or bank appointments—add them as appointments in your calendar. Having them as part of your daily scheduled plan keeps them top-of-mind so you make time for them.

 


The question on everyone's mind: Is working from home forever sustainable?

 

3. Be Comfortable

 

One of the best things about working from home is being comfortable. You can switch spaces if needed, you are stocked on your favorite snacks and you have total control over the thermostat. While your office may provide you with a few things, like snacks and coffee, you can bring other things with you to make yourself feel more at home. You probably also established new items in your home office that made your workday run more smoothly. You want to bring objects that make your environment positive and task-oriented, like:


  • Any new filing cabinets or systems that allowed you to keep work documents secure and organized
  • Any add-ons to your computer setup that enhanced your productivity – a chair cushion, a better mouse or desk calendar
  • Something that reminds you of home – a plant or pictures that made your home workspace unique to you

With the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, bringing hand sanitizer and disinfectant cleaning supplies can help you feel more comfortable as well. Your office may provide these essential things, but having them in your personal space and being able to wipe down your area and supplies as often as you like will ease your mind.


Taking frequent breaks while in the office can help clear your mind and keep you from feeling overloaded as you transition from working remotely to working in the office again. Between the daily commute, social interactions, and changes in the office environment, you will be exhausted, so taking “power breaks” throughout the day can help lessen the stress of the hustle and bustle.


Transitioning back to work after the COVID-19 quarantine can be difficult, especially after being gone for months and getting used to working in the comfort of your own home. Keeping and sticking to a routine will help ease you back into the flow of office life. Remember to prioritize your essential daily tasks, make yourself comfortable in your office and apply your remote working habits.

 


What will life on the other side of the pandemic look like? Check out our guide >

 

 

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