5 Tips on Managing Your Return to the Office

After the last year and a half, it’s hard to believe that it’s finally time for employees to make their way back to the office.

We know, however, that this can be a daunting experience for many people, whether you’re on a hybrid working schedule, dealing with a phased return, or simply back to being in the office full-time.

To help you navigate this transition in the new world of work, below we give you some helpful tips on how to best manage your return to the office.


Speak to Your Manager 

Having been away from the office for so long, it’s a good idea to set up regular touchpoints with your manager to ensure that your adjustment back in the office is as seamless as possible. 

Being that you’ve likely not seen one another in person for quite some time, it’ll give you a chance to get reacquainted and create a plan for the road ahead. You can ask any questions you have (i.e. what even is the dress code anymore?), discuss your career development, any necessary training gaps that need to be acknowledged, and how your role might change moving forward.

If you’re in HR, it’s a good idea to preemptively set up one-to-one meetings as soon as employees start trickling back into the office. This way everyone feels prepared for what’s to come.

Communication is key, after all.

Make Sure You Feel Safe 

Without question, as you find yourself returning to work in the real world again, you should feel as safe and secure as necessary to make sure that you’re able to put your best foot forward at work.

This means reviewing your commute, your new workplace health and safety measures, and checking in with yourself to ensure that you’re comfortable with the measures that need to be taken as you settle in.

For instance, if you still feel the need to wear a face mask at your desk and social distance, let your manager know that this is how you’ll work best - regardless of whether there’s been an easing of restrictions. This is your right as an individual and an employee - and the aftereffects of the global pandemic should not be overlooked or minimised by your employer.

If you’re an HR manager yourself, make sure to frequently touch base with employees to make sure they have the latest information for all new and improved post-pandemic processes and practice empathy and understanding as everyone adjusts to the new normal.

If at any point you find that you or your employees struggling with mental health, remember there are ample resources to help, whether it be online, over the phone, or in person.


Reconnect with Colleauges 

A really great way to manage your return to the office and establish some more normalcy in your life is to reconnect with your colleagues.

Being that you’ll likely have only seen one another and touched base over Zoom calls and emails, it’ll be refreshing (and fun!) to plan a small after-work outing to get used to one another, catch up, and get back in the groove again.

Do this at your own pace, of course, as some people are still somewhat uncomfortable with face-to-face interactions and it will take a little time to get used to relaxing in our new ‘old’ environments again.

If you’re an HR professional, it might even be a good idea to set up an initial in-house event so employees can get used to mingling at work again. This will get you and everyone else more comfortable with one another again while boosting employee morale.

Keep Up Your Routine 

We’ve all had to create and adapt to new routines as the pandemic continued, and there’s no doubt that returning to the office will shake that new (and rather comfortable) routine up a bit.

To this end, keep your office routine as similar as possible to your working from home routine when returning to the workplace. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should be wearing your slippers and sweatpants to work anymore, however, we recommend sticking to those lunchtime walks and regular coffee or snack breaks.

It’s also a good idea to reset your body clock, as the commute to work likely isn’t as quick as your commute to the home office. This means getting adequate rest and setting your alarm a little earlier for the next busy, bustling day ahead.

This point is important whether you’re an HR manager or not, as keeping up a routine that works well for you will ensure that you’re able to put your best foot forward each day at work.

Overall, the key here is to be productive but to avoid any burnout that comes from the delicate scales of your work-life balance - something you can master again in time.

This brings us to our next point…

One Step at a Time

This tip is probably the most important of them all because it forces us to remember that we’re all still figuring this whole post-pandemic thing out.

As such, part of managing your return to the office is managing your expectations as organisations, employers, and HR navigate the best way forward in the new working world.

In the meantime, be vocal about any concerns you have at work and take your time as you get comfortable with your surroundings again. It will be an adjustment, but as we did through the pandemic, you’ll come to adapt, adjust and thrive once again.

If you want to advance your career upon your return to the office, take a look at the professional online programmes we offer and start getting ahead today!

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