The sun just might be breaking through the clouds. As pandemic restrictions ease and vaccination numbers swell, it seems the “new normal” might soon resemble the original “normal.” According to a PWC survey, nearly 75 percent of executives anticipate at least half their employees will be back in the office by July. While some may be apprehensive about returning to the office, here are some suggestions to help make the process a bit easier.
A return to the workplace, even in a hybrid format, may be a daunting prospect for many. You can alleviate some of your concerns with three simple processes.
- Reprogram. Most of us have lost the daily sense of routine that came so easily a year ago. Our sleep schedules and ability to focus have suffered over the past months. Re-establish your old routine and ease back in. This reprograms your mind and body so both are ready for the unique requirements of the office.
- Refresh. Do a dry run and visit your office before the official return date. Walk through the familiar rooms and hallways, visit your office space, and sit in your chair; you will probably relish the sense of belonging. It gives your mind a gentler transition to “normalcy.”
- Reorganize. The odds are that your office has already been sanitized. Still, take some time to tidy up and rearrange your workspace. Add a plant and new pictures, and create the place you yearned for over the past year. A pleasant work area is good for both personal productivity and your mental wellbeing.
One of the few advantages of the extended lockdown is that it has allowed business leaders and employees to reconsider the benefits of working in the office versus working from home.
- Identify. Which aspects of working from home were especially effective? Perhaps it was the use of technology to coordinate across teams. Maybe you developed an entirely new way of doing things. If they are still applicable, utilize them.
- Integrate. While in-person work is largely allowed, it is not a necessity. Employees who feel safer working from home should be given that option if their productivity remains unaffected. If online meetings work well, continue to employ them in the office and forego the conference room gatherings.
Accept the Uncertainties
Much of the apprehension around returning to work centers on safety. This is particularly applicable to the very young, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions. While some find the recent directives from the CDC confusing, it remains the leading national medical authority on the subject. Keep yourself informed of their latest social distancing and masking guidelines. And remember, their advice constitutes the minimal requirements. You cannot be forced to take off your mask or enter an overcrowded space if you do not feel safe doing so.
Returning to the office may be daunting, but with the right tools it can be seamless. To discuss the best approach for a smooth transition, please contact me.