How do we prepare ourselves for going back to the office after working from home for such a long time?

With the easing of lockdown restrictions and more and more offices potentially reopening, how do we reaccustom ourselves to office etiquette after having worked from home for over a year?

You may have already planned re-integration into your office, but here are five tips for those of you who need help with resettling into your workplace.

1. Dress more formally.

It is undeniable that we have slacked on our professional appearance as our colleagues cannot physically see us when we are working from home and we only occasionally have virtual meetings where they do get to see us.

Now that you will be potentially returning to your office though, you need to dress up more formally to suit your workplace’s dress code. Even if your workplace has a casual dress code, try to dress up one step more formally because your appearance at home is the most casual and therefore you cannot bring yourself to work like that.

2. Plan your schedule more carefully.

While we have gotten used to taking our time to start work at home, we now have to reaccustom ourselves to pre-lockdown timings. More simply, we have to think about how we timed our usual workday before lockdown happened. For example, what time to sleep, what time to wake up, what time to leave home in order to arrive at our workplace on time etc.

The main method for this is to try to sleep and wake up earlier because doing this will naturally (and hopefully) start all your other actions earlier.

3. Refamiliarise yourself with your colleagues face-to-face.

Clearly, lockdown has prevented us (particularly interns) from getting to better know our colleagues and learning what they do. Even though we have gotten to know our colleagues via email, phone and virtual meetings, the potential reopening of offices means that we can now meet our fellow workers face-to-face and more confidently ask them questions and for help.

In particular, this will be an opportune time for you to find out your co-workers’ contact details, what department they are in, what they can help you with, whether they can give you a reference etc.

4. Familiarise yourself with your workplace.

Working from home may have made us become complacent as we have not had to spend time finding out where the necessary supplies are since we already know where they are.

However, with offices potentially reopening, it would be a good idea to fully explore your workplace as soon as you arrive there. By immediately finding out where the printer, boardroom or IT support is, you save time looking for them in the future and also show your colleagues that you are quickly settling into your new environment.

5. Do not be afraid to ask questions.

If you are worried that you will come across as irritating to your colleagues for asking them many questions, you should dismiss this thought and remember that it is better to ask them your questions early to quickly resolve your doubts than not to ask them your questions at all and risk later making a mistake. Asking questions also shows your co-workers that you are enthusiastic about your job as you want to do your tasks correctly and well.

Hopefully, you now feel more prepared after reading these tips. Aside from that though, good luck with returning to your office.

Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash

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