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Back to the office? How to make the transition…

  • Publish Date: Posted about 3 years ago
  • Author:by Barbara McKiernan

As restrictions lift and the world slowly steps outside, many businesses are gearing up to reopen their offices. This may come as a relief to many, but, while returning to a well-worn routine may seem straightforward, it may come with some challenges!

Adapting to working from home practically overnight required creativity and resourcefulness, conferring some reward and pride. Returning to familiar spaces and old routines now with PPE, screens and staggered seating arrangements could leave us feeling somewhat misaligned. The work environment will concurrently feel familiar and alien, challenging old habits, feelings and behaviour. This change may cause us to feel anxious, demotivated and stressed, but there are things we can do to control this!

Upon our own return to the office, we have been able to collectively navigate our environment and can now share our best tips on how to transition smoothly yourself!


1. Managing your anxiety and stress

A survey by PWC found that 70% of workers didn’t feel ready to return to work, with over half stating they feared getting sick. If this is the case for you, don’t feel like you have to tough it out! Going back to work after a global pandemic as if nothing has changed can be a very unsettling step. Make sure you talk to people about how you’re feeling! Whether it’s your line manager, colleagues, or HR department, they are likely feeling the same!

Voicing your concerns is a great way to manage anxiety, and you may find immediate solutions to your problems. For example, if commuting is your concern, your manager could suggest flexible working! If you don’t manage your stress, it will likely affect your physical health such as deteriorating sleeping and eating habits. Both your physical and mental health are of the utmost importance. Better food and better sleep = Less stress and more energy to work efficiently.


2. Review any safety protocols your organisation has in place

The pandemic has changed the dynamics of every office in the world.  Many businesses are creating protocols and safety guides to ensure employee safety. It can be helpful to go over your company’s safety plan prior to returning to the office. If you’re a manager or supervisor, ensure that you lay out expectations for your team so that everyone is on the same page. If you aren’t in a leadership role, it’s still important to communicate with your manager and other team members about your own expectations and how you can accommodate one another.


3. Revamp your Workspace

When you left the office a year ago, there’s a good chance you didn’t get to clean your desk before you left the office! You might now be greeted by piles of unopened mail, folders and loose paper. Take 10 minutes to clear your desk and create a space you’re happy to work in. Chuck out any junk mail or documents you do not need, and file the ones you do. According to a recent survey, 28% said they would save over an hour a day if their work space was better organised.


4. Leave the office on time

Studies have shown that the pandemic has caused our working hours to increase dramatically while working from home.  This has led to a whole other level of ‘burn out’ across the world, with many admitting to feeling high levels of fatigue and stress. The return to the office doesn’t mean it has to stay this way, try not to feel pressured to stay later than you need to. To battle the burn out, get out the door on time!


We hope these tips help to make your transition back to the office as seamless and stress free as possible. If you are not happy in your current job and are dreading going back to the office for more than these reasons, get in touch with us! It might be time for a fresh start somewhere new, or with a company that will allow working from home.

Want to read more articles like this? Be sure to visit VANRATH’s  NEWS, which features all kinds of industry insights and career advice. We post regularly on our LinkedIn page too, so don’t hesitate to check that out as well. If you’re seeking immediate career advice then visit our website or call 028 9033 0250.