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Post-Pandemic Norms: How to Shake Up Your Return-to-Office Routine

Businesses are returning to the office following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Adopting a fresh approach ensures you successfully get back into the swing of things.

It’s been a long time since most people have worked in the office from Monday to Friday. Yet as more companies return to work following a fully remote or hybrid approach over the last two years, employees must re-acquaint themselves with an office routine again.

However, as the world has changed dramatically since 2019, sliding straight back into the old way of doing things is unrealistic for many people. Here, we offer some back-to-work tips to ensure you overcome any problems and take your career to new heights.

1. Enhance your routine

Countless employees have enjoyed working remotely for the last couple of years. However, the constant virtual meetings and lack of personal contact mean that many people have developed habits that aren’t so conducive to office work. From rolling out of bed late to staying in your pajamas all day, kicking these unhelpful habits isn’t easy.

So, what can you do? Once you know that a return to the office is imminent, plan a fresh routine that fosters personal success. For example, you might decide to get to bed an hour earlier than usual, prepare a packed lunch each day, or go for a quick morning run. Returning to the office won’t feel like such a chore with a routine that elevates your health and wellness.

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2. Optimise time management

You’ve probably grown accustomed to managing your time when working from home. Although you might find yourself back in the office, you don’t have to forgo all these changes. With a strategic approach to time management, you can win back a sizeable chunk of the day and optimise your performance.

First, consider how you prioritise your time. By completing tasks based on importance and urgency, you can deal with challenging problems before moving onto easier things. Meanwhile, make the most of your calendar to ensure you never overlook an important project.

3. Consider your communication

If you’ve worked from home over the last couple of years, don’t feel bad if you’re struggling to communicate like before – many people are now recognising the importance of these skills. However, effective communication remains critical to the workplace, so reflect on how you conduct yourself with colleagues, supervisors and customers.

People may be returning to the office, but not every scenario needs to be discussed in person. Sometimes, an email or text is a more appropriate medium than a face-to-face meeting. Plus, office hours are getting back to normal, so resist making unnecessary contact outside 9-to-5.

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4. Attend meetings responsibly

The nature of meetings has changed forever since the pandemic. Although these were previously considered an essential part of office life, many workers now perceive in-person meetings as an unnecessary risk. And it makes perfect sense considering how we’ve become increasingly familiar with the technology that overcomes most obstacles.

Many businesses have adopted a hybrid approach to their office meetings, where only the most crucial employees gather face-to-face. Meanwhile, the rest of the team joins virtually to help stop potential infection. This shift alone is bound to shake up many people’s return-to-office routines.

5. Navigating social work events 

Social work events are a great way for colleagues to bond, network and relax after completing a challenging project. Yet these events come about in a vastly different context than in a pre-pandemic world, with many employees still feeling uncomfortable about gathering in large groups. So, how can you navigate these work encounters successfully?

Ideally, workplaces should promote a range of COVID-safe protocols, such as picking an outdoor location, using check-in systems and maintaining social distancing. If you decide to mingle with others, stay aware of your distance from others. Plus, it’s important to avoid shaming colleagues who might feel? anxious about attending work events.

Give yourself a break 

The last couple of years have been a hugely challenging time for people around the globe. If you’re worried about returning to the office, your feelings are perfectly valid. However, it’s a good idea to let your supervisors know that you’re struggling with the thought of spending so much time around others.

As your physical and mental wellbeing should always remain your primary concern, adopting positive practices like yoga or meditation could help you get through this transition period. There might also be opportunities for a flexible return-to-work schedule, giving you the proper time to adjust. Always ask your employer to find out what’s possible.

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