As we navigate a post-vaccine world, many of us have started to return to the office after working from home during covid-19. I spent over a year working remotely, and as a result, have been quite disoriented during my first few weeks back.
By the way, did I mention I was hired at the very start of the pandemic? And had to be onboarded completely remotely? It’s kind of an interesting look at potential future employment situations and I really learned a lot from the experience. But that’s a blog post for another time.
But if you’re looking to prepare yourself to return to the office, I’ve found a few helpful strategies. Here’s how to ease the adjustment back to the office after working remotely.
5 Ways to Ease the Adjustment Back to the Office
1. Get good socks
I’ll admit, this sounds very silly. But working from home (and not wearing shoes all day) forced me to take stock of my pitiful sock wardrobe. In short, I never realized how badly my feet were suffering from my cheap socks until it was all I wore on them.
Good quality socks can make a world of a difference. I started slowly building up my sock drawer with Darn Tough socks (they have a lifetime guarantee… on socks) and I immediately noticed a difference.
With a return to the office (and the assumption that you’ll be on your feet a bit more) it makes sense to treat your feet with a little more TLC. Give them a good cushion and insulation and you might be surprised at how much better you’ll feel.
2. Plants. Everywhere.
We all likely lost a plant or two when we suddenly had to make the (what we thought was temporary) switch to remote work. Now that you’re back in the office officially, it’s time to bring the greenery back.
Not only can plants help improve your mental health, but I’ve always found that personalizing my little office space makes me a bit more excited to work there.
No pressure if you don’t have a green thumb, however. I’ve always opted for the fake stuff. Can confirm, still a mood lifter.
3. Get a desktop humidifier
One thing I’ve always noticed about most office spaces… the air is so… dry? If you have especially sensitive eyeballs like I do, this can be a bit of a workplace detractor.
A desktop humidifier takes care of this issue without annoying your coworkers. It’s large enough to be effective but not so large that it rumbles and takes up space like my humidifier at home.
Your local Target or Walmart has several different options depending on your need/style. Find your perfect one and enjoy a more comfortable atmosphere.
4. Supply some good snacks
As much as I (and my wallet) love vending machines, they’re not exactly stocking my favorites. They’re more of a fix when it’s 3:57 and I need a snack to power through til dinner.
Instead of relying on the machine, stock your desk with good quality snacks. Make it stuff you enjoy. For example, I’ve been on a raisin kick since 2018. You won’t find that in a vending machine, so I stockpile bags of the good stuff within arm’s reach.
It’s okay to treat yourself here. Be gentle. You’re dealing with another massive transition. It’s okay if your current comfort snack is Pop Tarts. Whatever it takes to help you ease back into the office.
5. Give yourself something to look forward to
Make it as simple or in depth as your heart desires. I’ll give you two examples…
For the simpler version, I just found out through a coworker about a fantastic antique store about a 40 minute drive away. Spending a Saturday looking at antiques is my idea of a small bliss.
On a larger scale, I’ve finally booked a flight for this fall to see some friends I’ve dearly missed. I’ll be there for three nights and we’re already planning what we’ll do.
Put it all on your calendar. Even if it’s driving 40 minutes to stare at old ads for an afternoon. Write it all down where you can see it and have it in your mind.
And again, most importantly, be kind to yourself. The way to ease back is to be gentle on you, your expectations and your reality. Don’t push yourself, give yourself some grace and an extra Pop Tart if you need it.