Five tips to navigate the return to an office in the new year

At the start of the new year, many employees closed up shop at their home offices and headed back to in-person office work, some for the first time in close to two years. Whether you’re making your way back to a full-time work schedule or a hybrid blend of remote and in-person work, you will likely experience an adjustment period. Here are five tips to navigate your way through it.

1. Give everyone a little grace: One of the most important things to remember throughout this transitional period is that everyone, from leadership to your colleagues, will experience a return to the workplace differently. Even if you’re ready to jump back in, don’t forget that everyone’s experiences have been different and will shape their attitude and pace. Exercise extreme patience and give grace, and don’t forget to extend this compassion to yourself.

2. Find out if there are any changes: Depending on how long you’ve been working from home, things may have shifted a bit. In a perfect world, changes to guidelines and expectations would have been communicated seamlessly, but the world isn’t perfect. Be proactive in confirming details of any major projects you’re working on, meeting protocols, work expectations, all of it, to smooth any speedbumps before you hit them.

3. Vocalize any hesitations: A positive outcome of the past couple of years is that many workplace cultures have shifted to more of an “open door” policy when it comes to communication. If you’re feeling any trepidations about returning to an office, it’s a good idea to express your concerns or hesitations to management or, if necessary, human resources. There may already be a solution in place that you aren’t aware of or leadership may be willing to come up with one.

4. Embrace the uncertainty: The fact of the matter is that, after a couple of years of communicating solely by voice and video, it can feel a little uncomfortable to meet in person again. Remember that everyone is feeling the same, so go easy on yourself and your colleagues and don’t place too much pressure on returning to the “norm” quickly. The sooner you embrace the awkwardness, the sooner you can move through it. 

5. Take good care of your health: This applies to both your mental and physical health. Burnout is very real and could come up a lot quicker than it did before you became a remote worker. Many challenges come with returning to an office, and it’s important to be self-aware so that you notice the signs before it occurs. If you notice yourself feeling fried, get extra rest, move your body and do things that bring you joy to combat workplace stress.

If you check off all of these boxes and still discover that you’re not as passionate about the workplace you’re returning to as you once were, it may be time for a career change. We partner with innovative tech companies who are committed to hiring and retaining top talent. See all open job opportunities here.