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Returning to Work After COVID: 6 Strategies to Smooth Your Transition Back to the Office

As the country begins to reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are beginning to return to the office.

Returning to the office after months of working from home presents new obstacles never before experienced.  An Upwork study conducted in the fall of 2020 found that 41.8% of Americans were still working remotely.  However, the respondents of the survey also estimated about 26.7% of the workforce will still be fully remote by the end of 2021, indicating workers return to the office will be gradual.  If you are one of those returning employees, how can you ease your transition back to the office?  Experts recommend the following 6 strategies:

  1. Discuss your re-entry plan with your employer.

    Communicate clearly with your employer about what works best for you, your job duties, and any outside commitments you may have, such as childcare. If you have the luxury of setting your own schedule, communicate with your employer about when and how you plan on returning to the office.

  2. Inquire if your employer has any specific requirements before returning to the office.

    Employers may require something of you before returning to the office. Whether that be a COVID-19 vaccine, or simply that you wear a mask in the office, knowing what is expected of you will make the transition stress-free.

  3. Stick to a routine.

    Returning to the office will require you to adjust your routines. Maybe you started taking walks during your lunch break while working from home.  Keep doing so when you return to the office!  Or maybe you miss chatting with co-workers during your lunch breaks in the office.  Add that to your daily routine!  Whatever it is, routines can provide a sense of structure and normalcy into your work life.

  4. Learn how to manage stress.

    Transitioning back to the office will undoubtedly be stressful. Thankfully, there are many great, free stress reducing apps with breathing exercises, mindfulness tips, and other calming activities.  Books, podcasts, and music can also be great stress-relievers at work.  Managing your stress levels will be important not only to your overall health, but will also help you be more productive and efficient.

  5. Continue to look out for your co-workers’ health.

    Even if you are vaccinated, be considerate of your fellow co-workers’ health. It is important, especially if your office is not fully vaccinated, to continue social distancing, use hand sanitizer, and wait for those reunion hugs or handshakes.  Continue to monitor your own health to ensure you can keep your coworkers healthy and safe throughout the transition process.

  6. Get comfortable.

    One of the best parts of working from home was the comfort that it brought. Bring a little bit of that same comfort to your office!  Maybe that means bringing your favorite snacks, noise-cancelling headphones, or a houseplant to spruce up your office.  It could also mean getting a comfier work chair or taking more frequent breaks.  Transitioning back into the office does not mean you need to say goodbye to the comforts of working from home.

If you have questions regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or how it impacts you or your business, please call our attorneys at (402) 827-7000.


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