We've all fantasized about how our first day back at work following quarantine might go. Just like returning to school after a long summer break, but this time the vacation was unexpected and undesired. Working from home for months has caused worry in many people, but many of us have settled into it. After working at home for the better part of a year, returning to the office will be a little bit awkward and not the easiest adjustment. But going back to work isn't all horrible. There are numerous advantages, including improved mental health (the reintroduction of interpersonal interactions is critical), more structured days, and maybe overall work productivity.
However, as much of it as we desire to return to normalcy, many individuals will return to work with dread. Trying to break out of your comfort bubble and engage with the rest of the world is particularly difficult for those struggling with a social anxiety disorder (SAD). While the shift from relaxation to work mode is challenging, there are some things you can do to make things easier on yourself. Something that will keep you from battling your way back to work and ruining all of the good impacts of your hiatus in the first place.
Here are some things you can do to make your return to work as effective as possible:
Collaborate with your coworkers and management on how the shift back to the office will go - what precautions must be taken to keep everyone as safe as possible? Communication is essential; everyone should be on the same page and prepared to make some compromises to implement appropriate initiatives.
Make a Plan
What makes the situation interesting is planning ahead. Before you return to work, think about what you'd like to do differently this time. It could be a minor change in the pattern or a new style of working, but adding something fresh to your first day would not only make it more exciting, but you'll also find the shift much simpler than you anticipated. For example, if you want to be more disciplined, use sticky notes to keep track of your tasks. Make a to-do list every morning to ensure you complete each assignment and don't forget anything.
When it comes to making things happen, you must examine your behaviors. Consider how you begin each day. Most of what we do during the day is habitual, and many behaviors lead time to fly by, leaving us believing as if the day has vanished. You can make minor changes to your daily routine. Some experts advise avoiding caffeine and instead of getting some exercise before going to work. You will not only lose a couple of pounds per day, but your body will thank you! Exercising before work will improve not only your health but also your mood. Begin with something as basic as a morning jog before heading to the office. Or even a healthier, more filling breakfast, so you don't become too grumpy before lunch.
Make a list of the most critical purposes, and these would be the first things you do on your first day back. Make a concerted effort to prioritize your work instead of working on the first project that comes into your email. What are the top 3 most critical tasks you'd like to do on your very first day back at work?
Manage Your Time Wisely
Because no one is in the trenches of work yet, the first week back is ideal for establishing relationships, so take advantage of it. Set the desire to be focused today; know your goal the day before and how you should achieve it; work when you have to and when you're don't, talk to folks you had not seen in months, either up close and personal (socially detached) or even on the phone.
You're undoubtedly suddenly confronted with stacks of unread mail, binders, and stray paper. Take a few moments to tidy your desk and provide a comfortable working environment for yourself. Any junk mail should be discarded, and any files that are no longer needed should be filed or thrown away. It will just accumulate if you don't do it now. Get rid of any clutter, set aside the valuable things, especially essentials, and look into practicing having a clean desk by the end of your shift. If you hadn't yet, consider getting yourself a comfier ergonomic office chair, a height-adjustable standing desk, or a standing desk converter. These will not only benefit you on your first day back to work but for the coming weeks or months ahead. On the organizing note, check out organizing tools that you can use to tidy up your workspace.
Choose Good Food and Stay Hydrated
It is critical to keep hydrated because dehydration can induce lethargy and sluggishness. Remember that the humidity and temperature will be much different than at home - air conditioning can be unsettling. Take a thorough break away from your workplace to recharge. You might also host a welcome return employee lunch for the entire office. Set up a food plan, either entirely paid for by the employer or where everyone pays individually so that everyone can eat lunch together coming in a single, convenient delivery.
Guard Your Health
Practicing appreciation is one of the nicest things you could do for your mental health when you come back to work. Write down a few things you're happy about on the first day. It could be something that's going particularly well in your life right now, or maybe something you loved while being on quarantine. Whatever it is, make a note of it and pause for a moment, and appreciate it. This would not only make the adjustment back to the office smoother, but it would also help you preserve some of that calm at-home mood.
Mindfulness is also highly beneficial. You will soon be drawn into the vortex of tension that comes with working, so you must take a moment to calm yourself. Mindful actions, such as going on a brief stroll or focusing on your breathing for a few minutes, can help you return to the current moment and disconnect from the tension and worry going on all around you.
According to studies, our working hours have increased dramatically since we began working at home. The return to the workplace does not imply that things should remain as they are. Don't be a martyr; it's acceptable to leave work on time. If necessary, set a timer or a reminder to assist you in going on time.
Remember that adapting to this schedule will take some time, and you'll never give up. You can accomplish a great deal better if you take a practical yet challenging strategy to things.