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Tips for Returning to the Workplace after the COVID-19 Lockdown

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Tips for Returning to the Workplace after the COVID-19 Lockdown

Around that time last year, we published an article guiding people through working from home. This time, pyjama bottoms are transitioning into workwear and going back to work.

WORKING FROM HOME/REMOTELY – HELP GUIDE

Many of us are feeling anxious about returning to our workplaces after the lockdown. So, we’ve put together some tips to help you manage the transition. As well as how you might deal with feelings of stress towards the idea of returning to a “normal” way of working.

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Start waking up earlier

A big perk of working from home is the ability to avoid a commute, and many are taking advantage of this by sleeping in. If you’ve gotten too friendly with your snooze button, try waking up earlier to ease back into your old routine. Remember to start this transition earlier rather than later to give you more time to adjust to the change. You will thank yourself in the long run if you slowly get back to your old schedule. Not to mention that waking up early can greatly extend your day.

Another great benefit of waking up early is the ability to go to sleep early.

If you wake up at 5 a.m. and you’re productive throughout the day, you’ll be more tired by the end of the night, making it easier to sleep. This creates a better sleep cycle. And sleep is important for your health and getting rid of a build-up of stress.

Prepare your things the night before your first day in the office

Along with waking up earlier, you’ll want to think about preparing yourself for the reality of a commute and a full day away from your home. If you usually meal prep your lunches or bring coffee to work, for example, you will want to prepare those items the night before and make them readily available in the morning. This is one simple way to make your morning easier when you return to work and also save your time, which you can use for something more valuable like goal setting.

Learn how to set goals for the day, week and month ahead

How often do you set goals? How often do you revisit your list?

We all know that setting goals are important, but we often don’t realise how important they are as we continue to move through life. Goal setting does not have to be boring. There are many benefits and advantages to having a set of goals to work towards. Setting goals helps trigger new behaviours, helps guides your focus and helps you sustain that momentum in life. Goals also help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. In the end, you can’t manage what you don’t measure and you can’t improve upon something that you don’t properly manage. Setting goals can help you do all of that and more.

So, decide on a few things you want to achieve before the week is out. Take time to make a list to help manage the priorities for the days ahead.

Spend an adequate amount of time for brainstorming and then dialoguing on the goals. Try to establish one or two objectives that will help you achieve those goals as well. Remember to keep these goals written down and refer to them at various points throughout the year. Don’t lose sight of your goals; if you manage to keep them in mind, you’ll be that much closer to achieving them!

Focus on your mental health

With so much news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be daunting to return to the office, especially if you work in a busy city. If you want to make the transition back to the office easier, make sure you are managing your stress. If you can, take the time to participate in an activity that can help relieve anxiety such as exercising or taking a walk around your neighbourhood.

You can also try meditation apps such as Calm, Headspace or Simple Habit to help you manage your stress.

Start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on a simple activity like breathing, walking, meditating or enjoying a meal. The skill of being able to focus purposefully on a single activity without distraction will get stronger with practice and you’ll find that you can apply it to many different aspects of your life.

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Declutter

Decluttering office space has always been a challenge for any business. Accumulating miscellaneous things after a period of time is inevitable after all. Documents pile up, new office supplies come in to replace older ones, but the older ones never really leave your space. They end up scattered around the office somehow— either in a drawer or the corner of a desk, and so the cycle continues.

If your office currently has this setup, maybe it’s time to consider a major clean up. Decluttering with a healthy amount of an organisational overhaul not only sanitises a space, but can also elevate work quality, boost efficiency, and improve one’s health.

Think about  what you enjoy at work

After months spent working from home, it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious and stressed to get back to the usual work routine. However, spending some time to reflect on what you enjoy the most at your work will help you in becoming a little bit more excited about coming back.

Expand Your Network

Although it may seem like the challenges you face in your specific role or industry are unique to you, it’s very likely that others are going through the exact same thing. Make connections in your field by attending industry webinars, events, or conferences. This can help build a support system that you can consult or simply commiserate with when times get tough. Note that expanding your network doesn’t necessarily have to apply to people outside your company. You can benefit greatly by building relationships with colleagues in your organisation.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Support

If you feel overwhelmed, swamped with work, or are struggling with a particular aspect of your job, don’t be afraid to consult a trusted co-worker or manager about ways you might be able to find support. See if they can help you figure out ways to delegate work, schedule tasks so your workload is more balanced, or even point you to resources (like training or education) that will make those nightmarish tasks more manageable.

This takes us to the last point of the list:  “Communication”. 

Communicate with your team members

Transitioning from working from home to going back to your office can be tough. That is why it is so important to practice transparency and strong communication with your team members during this time. If you’re a manager or supervisor, for example, layout expectations for your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page. If you are not in a leadership role, it is still important to communicate with your team members and manager about your expectations in the office and how your team can accommodate one another. Once your team has a plan, you might even start to feel excited about returning to the office!

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