Back to normal: dealing with the return to the office
After 16 months of seclusion, several cities and countries are going back to their workspaces, and the question "When will things go back to normal?" is becoming a regular among conversations everywhere. What a year ago was the biggest challenge for workers around the world has become our daily routine, we transformed our home into our office, learnt to combine our house chores with our work tasks, became experts using conference calls software, started loving to exchange the suit for t-shirts and flip flops, slowly embracing the work from home routine.
Now, as vaccination efforts advance steadily and health institutions have been able to tame the pandemic, several companies are planning the return to the offices. Something we expected from the first day we took our things and headed home for seclusion is now an imminent reality, and a new question soar "Are we ready to go back?"
Although transitions are part of life, it is normal to be anxious when facing them. After a global event like no other over the past decades, what we thought as "normal" may not come back at all, and that is the first thing we must be aware of. One of the first things we must work on should be to define what the "new normal" will be, and today we would like to share some important tips on how to cope with the return.
A gradual comeback
After a year of WFH a sudden, massive change could affect us physically and mentally. We suggest you discuss with your employer a gradual reinstatement of the office routine. Companies like Google are defining hybrid models that will shape the way its employees will work not only during the transition but as a permanent strategy. Try to set your pace about this.
Prepare your home (and yourself) for the return
By now you are surely used to your WFH routine -if not completely in love with it-. A full return to the office may be complicated after a defined routine without the commute time.
You need to help your body and mind to get used to the office routine. Start by waking up earlier, practice your route to office to see if there were any changes in your commute time and give the chance to try alternative transportation options. Elife has corporate transport solutions that can adapt to any company size and routes in major markets in the US and North America.
Things will not be the same (even if they look like)
Social conventions have changed for good, and after months of seeing your coworkers only through a screen may make us forget about their health choices. Even when most of them should be vaccinated by now, perhaps there are some who would like to keep some measures as social distancing and mask usage. Things that we considered usual as handshakes and hugs may not be well seen yet, so we suggest you avoid them.
Tolerance and acceptance should be part of our values, restraining ourselves from any gossips or toxic work dynamics. After a pandemic that took hundreds of thousands of lives, we must be empathetic and humane as we have never been.
Teamwork, both in the office and at home
Your couple and kids may resent your return to office (even when it could look like the opposite), mainly because for the last month you were 24/7 available. Work with them to establish a healthy new dynamic. Do not use the work as an excuse to leave home chores behind. As you will be returning to a place where you usually spend mor time than at home, do not let your family forget they are the most important part of your life.
About your work team, let them know that you are open to perform any changes to make the return as worry-free as possible. Do not forget they went through the same stages of uncertainty and fear as you, and that way you will be cementing the grounds of a nice, healthy return.
When will things go back to normal? Today, if you are open to embrace the new normal.