A young woman in business attire holding folders and a takeaway coffee cup on an urban area getting ready to return to the workplace.
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5 tips to help employees return to the workplace

3 Feb 2022

Getting ready to return to the office? Here are a few tips to ease yourself back in and make the transition a little easier.

With most Covid-19 restrictions lifted, many employers are making plans for a return to the workplace full time or in a hybrid model.

Shortly after the Irish Government announcement that a phased return to workplaces could begin, CIPD Ireland’s Mary Connaughton said that while the changes should be “welcomed as good news”, it’s important to remember that the removal of restrictions and a return to offices can spark some concerns in the workforce.

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For workers who are gearing themselves up for a return to the office, it will be a big adjustment, especially for those who have been consistently working from home since March 2020.

So here are a few tips to make the transition a little easier.

Talk to your manager

Ideally, your manager should be already in communication with you and the rest of the team about the return to the office and asking about any concerns you may have.

However, be sure to schedule some one-to-one time with them to fully talk through how you’re feeling about the transition and use it as an opportunity to ask questions about how things will be different.

Ask about Covid-19 and safety protocols that will be in place. Express any concerns you may have. Talk about anything you’re worried about and suggest anything that you feel may help in the process.

Adjust your routine

Unsurprisingly, having to suddenly commute into the office as opposed to rolling out of bed and logging onto your computer will be a big adjustment, as will not being already at home the second you log off in the evening.

Take the time to map out your new morning and evening routine. If you’ve adopted any new positive habits into your life, find a way to incorporate that in your new routine.

You should also manage your expectations when it comes to the time you have. You won’t be at home to do errands during your day and the commute time will suck up some of the extra hours you might have gained back, so be realistic about what you can get done in a day.

Cushion the blow

Even if you’re excited to go back to the office, the adjustment will be a big one for both your body and your mind.

Soften the impact by making the changes as nice as possible. Make your commute easier with a good podcast or playlist ready to go, or a book if you’re on the bus.

Make a lunch plan at one of your favourite places or bring something comforting from home. Schedule a coffee with one of your colleagues and embrace the positive social side of being in the office. Whatever small treats you can add to those early days back in the office will make it easier.

Reset any lost boundaries

While remote working has plenty of benefits, it also comes with certain challenges, especially around the blurring line between work life and home life. But it’s important that any lost boundaries around work-life balance are regained.

While it’s important that remote workers have those boundaries too, employees returning to the office must make sure that work doesn’t encroach on their lunch hour or they’re not staying late to do ‘one last thing’ before logging off.

Remember, you’re already more than likely adding commuting time back into your day, so you don’t need to make that any longer by staying late or logging back in at home.

Go easy on yourself

Whether you’re excited or anxious to return to the office, it’s important to remember that it’s still a transition and this is still a pandemic.

Just as we all found it hard to adjust in March 2020, going back to office life is not a case of just switching a light back on.

Your productivity may go down, your energy levels may drop and you may lose more time than you would like in the evenings for hobbies and recreation. So, it’s important to bear all of this in mind, take care during this transition and don’t be too hard on yourself.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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