How to prepare yourself to get back to the office after WFH?

We all have stayed at home for far too long, much longer than we expected and it almost feels like we do not even remember what working in the office was like. Working from home initially was a little tough because home is associated with rest and a getaway and not constant pressure, but people definitely got a hold of it. The point here is to understand how conditioning can teach us and make us get used to something to such an extent that it starts feeling normal. 

There definitely are advantages of working from home like – working in your own comfort space, napping whenever you wish to, staying close to your family or pets, finding time to focus on activities you personally like and no worry about meals. But there were some noticeable drawbacks too, like the inability to have the much-needed social interaction, not being able to maintain a proper sleep routine since the urgency of getting up on exact time to get ready got eradicated. But in all this, most people noticed that they feel more and more socially withdrawn and find it difficult to interact with people on a very basic level too. What needs to be understood here is that things will not be like this all the time and they will eventually get back to normal. You might need to go back to work in the coming time. So how can you prepare yourself for that?

Here are some tips that you can keep in mind to prepare yourself to get back to working in the office space: –

  1. Fix your sleep cycle: Condition yourself to wake up on time in the morning, take a bath and get ready for work like any other pre-corona office day. Fix your sleeping cycle in such a way that waking up for work might not be such a task.
  2. Correct your posture: Get into the habit of sitting up straight and working on the desk if you have gotten used to working from the comfort of your bed or couch so that sitting on the office desk does not come as a shocker. Increase your sitting capacity.
  3. Let your health support you: If you have not been exercising or eating a balanced diet, start doing that now so that you do not feel uncomfortable when you are out there. 
  4. Talk to a colleague: If you haven’t talked to any of your colleagues for a long time, take time to maybe text or call them and ask them how are they feeling about getting back to work, maybe they are as nervous as you, maybe they have some suggestions and tips that can help you. It will make the situation less awkward and you will have some support
  5. Get used to making small talk: Interaction from people is unavoidable at the workplace and this is something you used to do before as well. When you get back to work, remember that everyone around you has suffered as much as you have, try to be comfortable around people and make them too. Ask them how they have been and tell them about yourself. Small talk is sometimes like an unavoidable part of life and it is okay.
  6. Give yourself the space you need: If you do not feel like being a part of social gatherings and events, give yourself the time you need for the sake of your mental as well as physical health.’
  7. Be a good observer: The staying at home period might change many people around you for either good or bad, take time to let yourself adjust and others adjust too. Observe what changed in people, maybe your angry boss learnt meditation and is way calmer now, maybe the quiet and peaceful colleague of yours got too irritable staying at home and snaps at people for no reason now. Maybe your office janitor lost someone in the family and is devastated. So, assess your environment and act accordingly. Do not take things personally and be sensible about things around you.

Lastly remember that this is nothing you have not done before and just think about how you in the past tackled all this and you will be fine. It is just work and work needs to be done. 

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Urvashi is a post graduate in clinical psychology and wishes to get closer to her goal of healing others and herself on the way. “She knows there’s no success like failure and that failure’s no success at all.” Bob Dylan
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