Six Tips and Tricks for Returning to the Office this Fall

Clancy Forte,  Amanda Silverstein

There’s no denying it– working from home has been a complete grind, but not without some major perks. Later wake ups? Check! Pajama party on the bottom? Check! Extra snuggles with your furry friends, kids and partner between Zoom meetings? Check! Check! Check!

It took us a while to establish how to effectively function in this “new normal.” But now, it feels…well… just normal. This begs the question: How do we go from 18+ months of remote work to a return to what once “was”?

At Prosek Partners, we welcomed several new employees during the Pandemic, many of whom have never stepped foot in our physical offices. Much like the first day of school, there is a lot of uncertainty and nerves around this physical (and mental) shift, not just for new joiners, but for everyone.

While we don’t have a crystal ball to forecast how a return to what we’re calling “the new old normal” will truly impact us, we certainly can take small steps now to make the transition slightly easier.

  1. Establish a healthy sleep pattern – If you’re guilty of over-binging on Netflix at night, or hitting the snooze button 3x on your alarm, consider breaking the habit. Currently, it’s easy to take small, uninterrupted breaks during the day, but those lost minutes add up, and we all know that being tired can be detrimental to productivity. Plus, back in the office, you won’t have a couch or a bed to crash on in moments of desperation. 😉
  2. Start reintroducing routine – If you’re like us, you swing by your favorite coffee shop before your commute even begins. Or maybe you hit the gym before the sun comes up. Get back into it. Start reintroducing your habits so that they become familiar to you and are less of a sudden jolt when it’s time to head into the office.
  3. Get the lay of the land – If you can, swing by your office. Check out what has changed and remind yourself of what it feels like to sit at a desk. Take a spin around the block. Are your go tos still open? What’s new in the neighborhood? Knowing your surroundings can bring a sense of comfort and familiarity.
  4. Read your emails – Have you been paying attention to change in policies? New technology? Processes for checking in? Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out what might be new or different. It will reduce the headache and scramble before your first day back.
  5. Be flexible, patient and plan ahead. From elevators, lunch at your favorite salad bar or even riding the subway, hailing a cab or catching an Uber, expect a wait and plan accordingly. Daily operations have slowed down with new protocols, so what was once achievable in a “NY minute,” might take a bit longer.
  6. Talk about your concerns. While many offices will have rules of the road, don’t ever hesitate to express how you feel. This is unchartered territory for everyone and you should feel supported and comfortable speaking to the leadership at your firm – whether it’s the management team or HR – about where your head is at.

When we said goodbye in March 2020, we all assumed that we’d be back in the office two weeks later.  The world has changed, and so have we. But at least we’re all in it together! See you soon.

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