Returning to the office after lockdown: 10 tips

Posted by Tilt Recruitment on June 15th, 2021

Returning to the office after lockdown: 10 tips

Posted by Tilt Recruitment on June 15, 2021

If you’ve been working from home for most of the year, you might be feeling some trepidation about going back to the office. The transition will be as weird in its way as the transition to working from home was last year.

But get it right, and once the initial shock is over, you could find that the extra structure and human contact give you and your team a huge mental health and productivity boost. Here’s how.

1. Communicate

Communication is the first rule in any big transition. Talk to your colleagues and management about how it’ll work and what safety measures will be in place. When everyone is communicating, it’s much easier to get everyone on the same page (or at least the same chapter) and achieve compromises where needed.

2. Manage stress

Talk about your worries and concerns before they impact your performance, not after, and encourage others to do the same. Look at where you can reduce stress in your routine, too. If you can, try substituting morning exercise for over-reliance on coffee.

3. Revamp your work space

If you didn’t get to clear your desk before fleeing the office, you’re likely to be daunted by your dusty year-old mess. Take the time to clear it up and ruthlessly throw away any unnecessary or outdated paperwork.

4. Do one thing at a time

Multitasking works better at home than in the office, especially when you have the added interruption of people walking up to your desk to ask you questions in person. While you can’t leave them on read, do feel free to finish what you’re doing before switching focus to the next thing.

5. Prioritise

When you start your day, think of the top few (about 3-5) tasks that are most important to accomplish, and prioritise those, not what’s top in your inbox.

6. Take a break

If you’ve been setting your own schedule, returning to hours of unremitting, constantly observed work might leave you wondering where your ability to focus has gone. It’ll come back as you adjust. In the meantime, let yourself take extra breaks and step outside when you can..

7. Stay hydrated

It sounds basic, but habits as simple as drinking enough water can evaporate when routines change – and staying hydrated is vital to give you the brainpower you need to adjust to change. Differences in temperature, humidity, and air conditioning between home and the office can also throw you off, so err on the side of drinking more, and enjoy the various break opportunities that provides!

8. Make a playlist

Boost your mood and productivity by making a work playlist with music that makes you feel good. If you’ve become an obsessed fan of a show or three during lockdown, leverage the power of soundtracks and get motivated to face your challenges like a protagonist.

9. Eat a decent lunch

Make sure you take a proper lunch break and eat something that’ll keep you going through the afternoon. If your body and/or relationship with food has changed during lockdown, going back to your old office lunch routine may not work for you. Do a bit of advance planning, work out options you can throw together easily when you’re tired, and remember that if you’ve been used to snacking, you might want to bring some snacks to work too.

10. Leave work on time

Studies have found that working hours have dramatically increased since we started working from home. If you’ve been living in an all-day state of vague workyness, this is a chance to kick that unhealthy habit. You may find it harder than expected to get through your to-do list in eight hours, but that’s okay. Leave some for tomorrow and go home at home time – and encourage others to do the same.

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