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How to make the most of your return to the office

Four tips to make post-lockdown life as productive and hassle-free as possible.

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In many countries, governments are confident they are over the worst of the pandemic. Working from home, which once felt alien and unproductive, now feels very much like ‘the new normal’. Clever workarounds and solutions to help make do with the reality of living and working during a global crisis have enabled many employees to keep going full steam ahead.

However, just as it was difficult adjusting to life working from home, the reverse will also be true. That’s why in this article I’m going to discuss the ways in which you can make the transition seamless.

Relearn to work as a team

When other businesses are slowing down because of lockdown, the best way to get ahead is to speed up. Moving back to the office shouldn’t be seen as another roadblock in the way of productivity. Investor Andrew Dixon says that, “A team needs to have trust and integrity; you need a team that can look problems and challenges in the eye.” And there’s no bigger challenge than what workplaces have been facing for the past few months.

We have become used to having to check in with each other constantly. At the same time, we have become accustomed to being alone during the workday. For you to the make the most of your return to the office, think about how you can be considerate to others.

Everyone is going to go through a period of adjustment, so this is the best way forward. You should ask others if you think they need help, which was previously difficult to do in a work from home scenario. Likewise, give your workmates space and do not try to help too much. Virtual teamwork was a hard skill to pick up initially, but old habits die hard.

Home comforts

Part of the beauty of working from home is the creature comforts we have come to expect. You can eat home cooked meals at any time of the day. You can roll out of bed in the morning without dreading the inevitable commute that is to follow. You can even get household chores done on your lunch break!

Soon, many of us will lose these benefits of working from home. But there are ways to make the transition easier. Don’t stop with the home cooked meals, pack them for your lunch! Likewise, bring a touch of home into the office by decorating your workspace. Nothing will remind you of what you are missing at home more than a soulless cubicle. Add some life with a plant or two, which are statistically proven to increase human productivity.

Change up your commute

For many, the idea of getting on crowded (and potentially unsafe) public transport is the last thing they want. For this reason, rethinking how you travel to work could prove to be the best thing that comes out of lockdown. Ridesharing with family members is one option that can both cut emissions and save you time. A 2019 study found that employees with a shorter commute time were more productive at work and take less unplanned absences, so this is especially important!

Try cycling or walking to work to shed those extra lockdown pounds. For those wanting a less strenuous method of transportation, electric scooters are becoming increasingly prevalent in major urban centres, just as motor-assisted bicycles are.

A less stressful commute could mean more spare time at the end of the day, better mental and physical health, as well as a productivity boost while you are in the office. After you stop using stuffy, unreliable public transport you’ll wish you changed it up sooner!

Make time for your health

With less free time, it can be easy for us to slip into old habits and treat our health poorly. Exercise and diet will not only improve how you feel, but how you perform at work too. This is where options like changing your commute or office diet will help.

You should make time for exercise, either before or after work. If you simply do not have the time, physiologist Karen Wallman has even touted the benefits of small bursts of intermittent exercise. She says that, “your body will be using more oxygen and expending more calories after that exercise while your system is returning to normal.”

Just like you should look after your physical health, your mind needs to be treated right. Connecting and talking to friends and family go a long way in periods of adjustment. Similarly, practicing mindfulness and paying attention to the present moment can improve mental wellbeing. Even learning a new skill could boost confidence and help give you a sense of purpose.

As you can see, you don’t have to view returning to the office as another big upheaval. It is a time to reconnect with your colleagues and realise what you were missing working from home. If you take the right steps, you could be more productive now than ever – even before the lockdown.






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