For some, the idea of returning to the office is very exciting and for some it’s completely overwhelming. Maybe you’re somewhere in between. But wherever you stand, there are a few things that you can do to ensure your return is safe, confident and productive for all involved.
Keep your Colleagues in Mind
Firstly, when returning to the office, return with your co-workers and other office users in mind. The pandemic has been difficult for everyone and while some people are desperate for human interaction, others are still very wary of surrounding themselves with people again.
Some workplaces are implementing a traffic light style system where employees can wear lanyards or wristbands to indicate how comfortable they are with close interaction. Green indicates someone is happy to hug or shake hands, amber signifies somebody is happy to chat and collaborate but aren’t comfortable touching just yet. And red lets people know to maintain the two-metre rule and be considerate when talking to this person.
Techniques like this make everyone feel happier and more comfortable in the workplace but there are still some other tell-tale signs to look out for when it comes to the wellbeing of your colleagues.
How to Help Anxious Co-workers
If you notice somebody is taking more breaks than usual for example, it may mean they are feeling overwhelmed being around people again and are looking for regular solitude. Similarly, a person may be taking more time off than usual and calling in sick. This could be a sign that they are not coping well integrating into the workplace again. Furthermore, if you notice a colleague seems nervous or unsettled, perhaps they can’t stay in their seat, it could be another sign of public anxiety.
Checking in with colleagues who show any of these signs is really important. Try not to be pushy or intrusive but simply asking how someone is or if you can help could really make a difference to the way they are feeling. They may just need someone to talk through their emotions with, in order to feel calmer.
Adjusting to the Environment Productively
Many people found the initial adjustment to working from home difficult. There were snacks in the fridge, a kettle just behind them and a mound of housework that needed completing. While some people became masters at hanging out the washing between zooms, using the break to aid productivity when they returned to work, others felt completely unproductive.
Now, the same danger exists when returning back to the office. Those water cooler moments will return, the luxury coffee will feel like a God send and the urge to relax in the lounge will be more tempting than ever before. To keep yourself on track, set yourself one task at a time and forget about the multi-tasking of the working from home era.
Set up your workstation with everything you will need around you. Plug in your laptop, have a few snacks on the desk, get your coffee and crack on with one task. If you can, turn off your e-mails and notifications too so you can really get your head in the game. It’s not easy to make these adjustments but there are things you can do to make it as easy as possible for yourself.
Look After your Wellbeing
While getting in your zone and focusing on one task at a time is a great productivity trick, taking regular breaks is still important for both your work and your wellbeing.
It may have been a while since you’ve even left your house and many of us have been making more use of our garden spaces – don’t get out of this habit when returning to the office. Head outside at regular intervals, stay hydrated and maintain those boundaries you had to set yourself when working from home.
Don’t feel as though you have to overwork to make up for lost time in the office. Saying no to tasks or requests that aren’t feasible is perfectly acceptable and in fact necessary to aid a smooth transition back to office life. What’s more, if your company allows, take the idea of flexible working forward with you too.
If you are a morning person with peak productivity as soon as you wake up, start your day early. If you come alive after a nice slow morning and a good breakfast, start your day later and work later into the day. Do whatever is best for you.
Always Be Patient and Kind
A final piece of advice would be, always be kind when dealing with people re-integrating into the office. Everyone has experienced a loss of some sort throughout this pandemic, whether loss of a loved one, loss of human interaction or simply loss of freedom and that is extremely difficult to deal with.
It’s not always possible to stay on top of our emotions and sometimes people react without thinking. They say things they don’t mean and they can appear to become difficult for no reason on occasion. Showing kindness at times like these can turn someone’s day around and make things so much easier for them.
Showing somebody kindness and patience when they seem to deserve it the least is also the quickest way to ensure their bad mood doesn’t also rub off on you and ruin your day too. You can simply crack on and feel good about your choices.
If you’re looking to move into a new workspace following the easing of restrictions, Officio can help. All our workspace providers take your health and safety very seriously and many also offer copious amounts of space to ensure you feel comfortable.
Give Officio a call on 020 3053 3882 to find your perfect workspace.