Returning to the Office – A Remote Worker’s Guide

You’ve been wearing outdated tees and jeans to work. It’s now time for returning to the office. Here’s how to deal with it effectively.


Commuting to the office after working from home can be a major shift. Everything from the clothes you wear to simply dealing with people in the office can be a huge challenge.

Returning to the office can mean talking to people face-to-face rather than through emails, messaging, or phone calls. One might even have to stand up and talk in a meeting. It can be a significant change for folks who have been working from home in a very different environment.

If you’re returning to work after working remotely, there are some things to consider as you acclimate to your new routine:


Make a Psychological Adjustment Before Returning to the Office

Suppose you’re returning to the office because your company needs you there. Or perhaps you have a new job and there is no option for remote work. The best thing you can do is to embrace it and mentally accept it.

The decision was made because the nature of work is changing rapidly. Many companies believe having people in-house helps with productivity and creativity. While you may disagree, raging against your workplace will not help you succeed.

Instead, concentrate on the opportunities that will arise from being in the office. You’ll probably have easier access to coworkers and managers. In addition, you may have superior equipment and more opportunity to socialize with coworkers.

This may be your opportunity to create a positive impression on executives. You can do this by attending team meetings, giving presentations, and engaging in hallway chats. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to find an on-site mentor who can help you advance your career.


Take Stock of the Effects Before Returning to the Office

Consider the changes that will occur as a result of returning to the office. In addition, take inventory of how much of an influence it will have on you.

Will you need to purchase new clothes? Will the office’s business casual dress code allow you to wear what you already have? How long will it take you to commute and what adjustments will you need to make to your everyday routines?

For example, Sheri Wachenheim, account director at The Marcus Group, took a position with a public relations agency. They needed her to work in the office the majority of the time. Depending on traffic, her commute can take up to 90 minutes each way.

As a result, she has had to be very careful about how she schedules her time. On days when she is in the office, she works late, which means she leaves when traffic is calmer. She claims that this gives her greater freedom to fit in personal duties on days when she works from home.

In addition, consider the possible increase in expenses. These might be things such as clothing, commute costs, and even more lunches out with coworkers. Taking inventory of these things can lessen the stress you may feel during the change.


Make Sure You’re Ready To Hit the Ground Running

You’ll feel less overwhelmed with your new work scenario if you’re well-prepared. Treat it just like you would with any new job. Work with your boss to get the equipment you’ll need and any training you’ll require.

In addition, before you return to work full-time, go to the workplace and take inventory of your workstation. This will enable you to have everything you require to do your job well.

Further, a dry run can also help you figure out how much time you’ll need for your commute. It will also determine if you’ll need extra time to bring kids to school or manage other chores before work.

When you do return, it’s important to make a strong first impression. Be sure to get there early and work hard while you’re there. Coming with a negative attitude might damage your working relationships with coworkers and your boss. Therefore, it’s preferable to start on the right foot.


Make a Plan To Reduce Friction Between Your Home and Your Workplace

Suppose you’ve been doing the majority of the housework because your work-from-home schedule was more flexible than your partner’s. In that case, transitioning to the new normal may take some time. Therefore, make a plan to ensure that all of the necessary chores are getting done.

In addition, you may need to hire some help. This includes a house cleaning service, a babysitter, a laundry service, or a dog walker until finding your new rhythm.


Make the Most of the Situation

Returning to the office means looking for ways to make the most of your circumstances. Therefore, if your office allows it, customize your desk to make it more comfortable. For example, you may want to bring in photographs or a favorite mug to personalize your space.

These things may seem insignificant, but having a comfortable workspace will make you happier in your surroundings.

By taking it seriously, making a plan, and positively adapting to your new work environment, you’ll establish a good rapport. This will be a great advantage in case you wish to negotiate for more remote work in the future.

Work on building some capital with your employer and senior team. After that, you can carefully negotiate some additional personal and remote time. Then, perhaps, you can position it to be acceptable and in alignment with the company’s goals.


Image Credit: Yan Krukov; Pexels; Thank you!

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