It’s time to report back to work! How and where do you begin? And what do you start with? Making the move from working remotely or being out of work (e.g., a furlough) to going back to physically being present at work and re-adjusting to your previous schedule and routine can be challenging but it doesn’t have to be! Here are several tips to help you make the transition as successful and painless as possible:
- Make the most of the situation: If possible, customize your workspace to make it comfortable. This could include bringing in a blanket, photographs, headphones, a reusable water bottle, a favorite mug, healthy snacks, an extra phone charger, and a collection of your favorite tea(s).
- Stick to your current routine: Try to stick to some aspect of your familiar routine to help you be as productive as possible. If you prefer to set aside time to tackle major projects at a specific time during the day, don’t hesitate to communicate this preference to your colleagues.
- Be transparent: Don’t reduce your interaction and assume that everyone is on the same page (or that people will drop by if they need anything). Maintain the detailed communication that you’re used to. This will help prevent misunderstandings and builds trust among your team.
- Branch out within reason: Try blocking out some time to connect with your colleagues and subtly be clear about when you need time to yourself, which not only allows you to focus on your work, but also puts you in control of a situation that could otherwise feel overwhelming.
- Be clear on your reasons: Knowing why you want to return to working on-site can help you push through those hard times you’ll inevitably face like the first time you get stuck in traffic on your way to work or when you find yourself struggling to get work done due to a chatty colleague.
- Ease your way in: Instead of jumping in headfirst, ask your manager if you can work from home one or two days a week—at least to start off. Then, as you get more settled into your routine at your workplace, you can cut that remote time back to a half day (or no days) of remote work.
- Focus on the positives: Take a glass-half-full approach to going back to working on-site. This means consciously looking for/and focusing on the advantages that you won’t get when working remotely and the positive opportunities you’ll find in your new day-to-day routine at work.
- Take inventory of the impact: Think through the changes that will come with on-site work and how big an impact they’ll have on you. Figure out if you need a new wardrobe or if casual works, how long your commute will be, and what changes you’ll need to make to your daily routine.
- Prepare to hit the ground running: Work with your manager to arrange any equipment and training you’ll need. If possible, visit your workspace and take stock of it before you return to working on-site full time to help you to ensure you have everything you need to do the job.
- Plan to reduce home/work friction: If you’ve been handling most of the household tasks, create a plan to ensure that essential tasks are completed. You may need to hire some outside help (e.g., a laundry or house cleaning service) to help you manage until you hit your new stride.
- Give yourself some goodwill: You can give yourself the important advantage of goodwill and be happier in your workspace by taking the on-site, back-to-work transition seriously, having a plan to make it go effectively, and adopting your new work environment with a positive attitude.