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Out with the old: Transitioning back to the office after working remotely

Preparing to go back to the office after remote working

Written by Staff Writer

July 13, 2020

These are just some of the ways to make the transition from remote working back to the office go a little smoother.

The first half of 2020 could be described as nothing short of chaotic. The world has been turned upside down by COVID-19 and all the challenges that have come with it. Aside from the devastating health consequences that the pandemic has caused, one of the areas of people’s lives that has been most disrupted is the workplace. With almost all sectors in South Africa having had to close their doors until level four came to an end, the consequences for both employers and employees have been dire. Thankfully, however, the country seems to be slowly righting itself. Most sectors are now back in business, albeit with strict health precautions, and we are seeing more and more companies return to in-office work. However, the challenges that come with the transition from remote working back into the office are often hard to navigate. Below are a few tips on how to navigate the transition from remote working back into the office.

Focus on the positive

Try to align your mind to focus on the benefits of being back in the office. Things such as being able to actually speak with a co-worker to ask them something urgent as opposed to sending an email and having to wait for a response are big bonuses.

Make sure you’re comfortable

There’s no denying that working remotely is super comfortable. Being surrounded by familiar things, wearing sweatpants and taking a power nap during your lunch break are all huge advantages of working from home. Now that you’re back in the office though, these luxuries are no longer available. It’s now vital to make sure you’re as comfortable as you can be. Make your desk feel as “homey” as possible – however that looks for you. Plants, framed pictures or your favourite lunchtime read are all things that will make the transition to on-site work feel a little more natural.

Get used to interacting with co-workers again

After working at home for a while, the thought of making small talk in the office kitchen may seem a little daunting. The problem with completely isolating at work, however, is that for roughly eight hours straight you are completely stuck in your own head. While your primary goal may be to get things done effectively and efficiently, the benefits of chatting to and forming relationships with like-minded co-workers shouldn’t be overlooked. Get in the habit of checking in with your co-workers, ask them how their weekend was and take advantage of being able to ask for immediate help from them when needed.

The obvious: stay hygienic

Last but not least, and probably the most important: stay hygienic. Although it seems like things are slowly starting to return to normal, it’s vital not to overlook the fact that the pandemic is still very real. Just because institutions and offices are open again doesn’t mean we can ignore health regulations. Make sure to wear a mask at all times, especially when interacting with co-workers in close proximity (1,5 metres). Remember to keep track of your temperature, sanitise and practice social distancing.

These are just some of the ways to make the transition from remote working back to the office go a little smoother. Remind yourself that the transition should be hassle and stress-free as possible. Take it slow, be cautious and try to look on the bright side, focusing on the bonuses of being back at work.

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