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Tips to Adjust to the Switch from Remote Employment

11 April 2024

With the COVID-19 pandemic finally behind us, the American workforce is now starting to return to the office. Some people choose to work in hybrid modes, while others prefer in-office work daily as it helps them focus better and get more done. Whether you're returning to work permanently or opting for a hybrid work model, one thing is for certain - there is increased anxiousness about this switch from remote employment.

You might have worked from the office for decades before the pandemic hit, but even then, you are likely to experience stress about going back. This is mainly because heading back to work is likely not going to be the same experience as before. The pandemic brought about significant changes around the world, especially in the way that we work, and there's no going back.

As you return to your office, you are likely to be greeted by unfamiliar faces, revamped workplace designs, and new norms of office etiquette. You are probably already wondering whether it would be okay to shake people's hands, or is that practice completely outdated now?

First of all, take a deep breath and relax. Remind yourself that you're going to a place that you're quite familiar with. Moreover, think about how everyone else is in the same boat as you. Nobody knows exactly what to expect, and the best way to make this switch easier is for everyone to communicate and collaborate. Here are some more tips on how to switch from remote employment as you head back to work.

Give Yourself Time to Adjust

After spending nearly two years indoors, our minds and bodies simply aren't used to the level of activity and socialization that comes with going to work every day. From long commutes to greeting colleagues, listening to people work around you, and being away from your comfort zone for almost half the day, all of these factors can come together to make the experience quite overwhelming for anybody who is returning to work.

Therefore, experts recommend giving yourself time to adjust and making the switch slowly. Instead of simply deciding to return to work full-time, request your employer to let you start with a hybrid model instead. You can start by going to work 3 days a week while working from home the rest of the days. This will give you time to adjust to the difference in the work environment without taking you by surprise and becoming too much to handle in one go.

Once you feel like you're up for it, you can eventually start spending more days at the office before making a complete switch.

Make Use of Online Tools

Most employees shifted to collaborative tools and work management software during the pandemic. These tools were quite effective in organizing your workflow and streamlining various business operations. They allowed employees to work more productively and make more effective use of their time and resources.

Now, as you return to the office, make it a practice to continue using these tools for better work performance. They will help you adjust to the new working model and offer an excellent opportunity to improve collaboration across different teams and departments. These innovative tools are a great way to strengthen your work system for the lasting benefit of the workforce, allowing them to incorporate best practices at work without having to change their approach as they re-enter the office.

Explore New Ways of Working

The post-COVID world of work is more flexible and dynamic than ever before. You can make the most of this increased flexibility as you return to work and make life significantly easier for you. Some examples of using flexibility in the workplace include requesting flexible timings so you can skip rush hour traffic or testing a hybrid work model to reduce your cost of commute.

You can also sit down with your manager and discuss any concerns or suggestions you may have. Talk to them about what works for you and how you can maximize your productivity levels while also prioritizing your well-being. This would allow you to continue offering your best performance at the workplace while also striking a healthy work-life balance that leaves plenty of time for your hobbies and loved ones.

Set Your Work Boundaries

Working from home during the pandemic blurred out a lot of boundaries. We've all gotten calls from our managers during the late hours of the night, requesting us to look at an urgent email or accommodate a client's request. The general perspective was that if you're sitting at home, you might as well get some work done. This caused thousands of employees around the world to experience burnout due to an overload of work.

As you go back to the office, make it a practice to set healthy boundaries and stick to them. Stop being accessible after work hours and make it clear that you will only be working when you're in the office. The days of working through dinner and family movies are over, and your employers shouldn't think you're available 24/7 to take care of any tasks, no matter how urgent they may be.

The shift back to the office also offers you an opportunity to think about what works best for your productivity. Do you prefer to communicate in person or over video call? Are weekly check-in meetings effective or merely redundant? Consider all of these factors and effectively communicate your feedback with the employers to streamline this transition back to work.

Create a Healthy Workspace

For the past few years, the American workforce has been working from their home offices, dinner tables, and even their beds. As comfortable as they may be, these workspaces weren't the best for their bodies, and the effects are starting to show with increased incidents of neck pain, shoulder aches, eye strain, and Carpal tunnel syndrome.

As you return to work, you have the perfect opportunity to create a healthy workspace for yourself by opting for ergonomic office products from FlexiSpot. One such product is the AlcoveRiser Standing Desk Converter which is designed to complement any desk space.

The desk converter is the best way to set up your laptop or desktop computer in an ergonomic fashion to limit the strain on your eyes and ensure that you work in the right posture. It comes with a removable keyboard tray and a straight up-and-down operation. The highly stable configuration, paired with step-less height adjustment functionality and a specially braced X-lift structure, makes this desk converter a worthy investment for everyone returning to the office.

Ease Your Pets into Your New Schedule

Across America, people found comfort in their pets as the pandemic raged on and shut us all indoors. Reports from the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have shown that roughly one in every five American households actually adopted new pets during the COVID-19 pandemic. These animals provided love, comfort, and companionship during some of the most challenging times that people have ever seen. They were often our only source of socializing as all public meetings and gathering spots were closed down.

Now, with the American workforce returning to the office, people need a plan B for their pets. It is important to realize that our pets have gotten accustomed to spending the whole day with us. Sudden limitations to this interaction can cause your pets to suffer from separation anxiety. It can even lead to numerous health problems!

Hence, you must ease your pets into this change. Let them slowly get acclimated to not having you around at home all day. You also need to consider the fact that more and more families will now be needing dog sitters and walkers to take care of their beloved pooches during the day. So, it is best to make your arrangements ASAP to avoid getting stuck with a pet sitter that doesn't offer a high level of care to your pet.

Be Kind and Compassionate

Lastly, you should keep in mind that the pandemic has been challenging for everyone. People lost their loved ones and the life they have always known. It has been a time of difficulty, grievance, and loss.

Additionally, the pandemic has always changed the way people view socializing as a whole. More and more people now experience anxiety at the prospect of socializing, which is an important part of returning to the office. Everyone has their concerns about being socially awkward, not knowing how to make small talk, and being unsure of how to greet their colleagues.

Amidst such confusion and uncertainty, it is best to stay kind and compassionate to everyone. You don't know what your coworkers have been through and how they are feeling. So, treat yourself and everyone around you with kindness and be your most empathetic self during this switch. Reach out to people who might be struggling and offer your support if they need it. Together, you can work on creating an accepting and inclusive work environment for everyone.