It feels like only yesterday I was making recommendations about how to make yourself comfortable and effective as we all shifted to work from home 100%. I bet you’ve changed and tweaked and reconsidered your work from home space a bunch since then, I know that I have. I used to make a rule about the dog not being in the office during office hours, and, well, he’s in my lap right now. Things change.
For a great many of us, things are about to change once again. We’re headed back to the office into a hybrid schedule—some balance of working from an office again, and working from home still. In preparation for the switch, here’s some tips to get you ready.
1. Pants. For many of us, we’ve been working in the most comfortable garb we could find for the past year. Putting on work pants (many of us now refer to them as “hard pants”) is gonna be rough, and if those old work pants work no more, it is time to invest in work pants that do. You’re going back to an office 8 hours a day, don’t ask yourself to wear pants that no longer fit.
2. Check in on your morning routine. I am sure you remember the time before when you got up at 7 and were out the door by 7:45 to be at the office by 8:15. You might be able to switch back to that like it was nothing. For some of us, our routines will need complete retooling. Our dogs will need a few outside visits before we leave in the morning, just to make sure they emptied the tank. We’re gonna need to set a couple more alarms in the morning, and we might need a few practice rounds.
3. Re-plan your daily schedule. The days you’re going to be in the office—think about what you need help with and who will be there that you can meet to have a productive meeting. Prioritize working with others during those days so you can optimize that face to face availability. Save the spreadsheets, research, and paper work for when you get back to the quiet of your home office.
4. Make it fun! Picture this like going back to school—you’re not sure where you’re gonna sit, who you’re gonna have lunch with, what it’s gonna look like. So, plan a team lunch outside, put together team gift bags for the first day back, get your entire team their personalized coffee orders. This transition will be much easier if everybody is in a good mood.
5. Be open minded & understanding. In the past year, everybody you know has found their own place on the spectrum from “scared to be in public” to “been at restaurants since last May”. As life moves back to normal, it’s easy to assume everybody will be ready and willing to jump back into the office. But, some employees might not be ready, whether it is to protect themselves or their families. Whether that’s you or somebody that works for you, keep the lines of communication open, agree upon a plan for return that works for everybody, and stay in touch.
With a new pair of pants and open mind, you can take on the world. Now get back out there and seize the day!
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