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3 simple actions to make the transition back into the office easier

Working from home is a very freeing experience. Going from your home office back to the cubicle – not so much. One minute you’re happily working away in your pajama uniform with the whole day stretched out in front of you. The next, you’re watching the clock from your gray, windowless office, feeling constricted in your slacks and missing your pet.

But plan accordingly and it really doesn’t have to be a tough transition. (Though, we hate to break it to you, you will have to put on shoes – and not of the slipper variety.) Looking to ease back in? We don’t blame you.

After getting a much-needed haircut, it’s time to dust off that button down and prepare to make your pilgrimage back to the office. These transition tips will help you hit your in-office flow state in no time.

Figure out a schedule – and stick to it!

Work hours been a little “flexible” as of late? Now’s the time to get a head start on creating a more formal routine.

Focus on your sleep schedule first.

Once you’re headed back to the office, you’ll again have to account for a morning commute, which likely means waking up much earlier than you’ve probably become accustomed. Before that happens, start to slowly train yourself to awaken earlier and earlier by gradually setting your alarm back by 15 minutes each day for at least a week. This should help ease you into the change.

You may also want to skip that extra Netflix episode and get to bed by a certain time. Keep in mind that the blue light emitted by your phone and other electronic devices can disrupt your body’s internal clock. To ensure you sleep soundly, try implementing a screen curfew 30 minutes to an hour before your scheduled bedtime.

When you do wake, have a plan for that time, too. Eating a good, fibrous breakfast, getting some exercise, or listening to music will help your brain come online. From there, plan your meal times and end your workday like you did before you went remote.

Just be sure to keep at least your same sleep schedule during the weekends, too. You don’t want your progress to be lost!

Make a list of “back in office” duties – and follow them!

Your first few days back in the office may prove the most difficult to focus. Expect at least some in-person meetings, but try to avoid over-scheduling yourself with appointments. Instead, stave off overwhelm by keeping a running list of to-dos to help you stay on task.

Prioritize your duties by most-to-least important and tackle what’s pressing when your energy is highest. Be strategic and group tasks together that naturally flow from one to the other.

Remember to be gentle with yourself, too. There are only so many hours in a day, and no one expects you to do it all at once. Ask for help when you need it and delegate where you can.

Keep those sanitary best practices – because, pandemic!

This time has left an indelible mark on our lives – and our sanitation habits! Taking these back into the office with you can help keep germs at bay all year long.

To review:

  • Clean in a single direction. When wiping down surfaces, make it a one-way swipe to cut down on cross contamination.
  • Target high-volume surfaces. After one-way wiping your desk or workstation, tackle doorknobs, drawer handles, printer buttons, and communal areas like break rooms or meeting spaces with a bleach-based disinfectant.
  • Disinfect your cell phone, daily. Did you know the average person touches their mobile up to 2,000 times a day?! These portable germ collectors are ticking time bombs if not sanitized on a regular basis.
  • Wash your hands! It should be self-explanatory at this point, but posted reminders never hurt. That’s a minimum of 20 seconds under warm water with friction and soap.

Getting back into the work groove could take some time. But commit to these simple strategies and you’ll be prepared for whatever awaits you under the watchful glow of those fluorescent lights – whenever that happens.