After over a year of working from home, it can be jarring to have to go back to the office. Many of us have become accustomed to working on our own schedules and being able to dress how we want, take breaks as needed, and enjoy the solitude of a quiet home.
Improve Your Mental Health
While many employers are allowing their employees to continue to work from home, or are offering hybrid work schedules, that is not the case for everyone. For those who are required to return to working in an office, the experience can be difficult on their mental health and well-being.
It is important to make sure that you are still making your mental health a priority. If you feel that you are struggling coming to terms with returning to work, or are concerned about a potential mental health condition, reach out to the My Therapist team at https://www.mytherapist.com/advice/counseling/ for help and guidance.
Keep reading for some ideas on how to make your transition back to office life easier on yourself and more considerate of your mental health.
Anticipate Setbacks and Resistance
One of the best things that you can do is to not have unrealistic expectations as to how things will be when you return to work. It will take a while for things to get back to normal, and in many cases, things may never return to exactly the way that they were before the pandemic.
By understanding that you won’t be walking into the same office that you left, it can help mitigate some of the stress involved with returning. Some of your former co-workers may not be there and there may have even been a change in management.
Don’t let these changes discourage you. Instead, be open to change and do your best to be adaptable and willing to bend. Embrace the bright side of change. You’ll be able to meet new people and colleagues and they may suit you even better than your previous ones did.
Although it can be difficult depending on your personality, try to roll with the changes and most importantly of all; don’t take things home. That leads to the next tip.
Leave Work at Work
You’re no longer being paid to work from home, so don’t take your work home. It’s extremely important to establish boundaries when it comes to this. Unless your job is offering a hybrid schedule that allows you to decide when to work from the office or from home, your work stays at work.
This can be difficult to do at first, especially when you are so used to completing tasks at home. It is, however, an absolutely necessary thing to do to help preserve your mental health. By having a place designated for work and leaving your home a place of relaxation and comfort, you will more easily be able to ground yourself and keep work stress at bay.
Trying to get all of your work done within a certain time period can be a daunting task. It makes our next tip all the more important.
No one is a superhero, and it shouldn’t be expected of you. It is common that the people in charge will try to hand off more to their employees than what they are able to accomplish. Prioritizing your tasks and the work that you are given helps to keep yourself productive and provides a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Make a list of the three most important tasks of the day when you first arrive at the office, and focus on getting those done before you do any other tasks. It is also helpful to have a list of things that you know can wait, such as cleaning out your email, so that you won’t feel tempted to do them before your main work is done.
If you complete your main work before the end of the day, great! You can then make a new list of the three next most important tasks to complete before you finish working. Don’t feel pressured to get these all done today however as you already finished one list.
Productivity apps can be especially helpful for some by blocking access to distractions on your phone or computer. Ask your boss if it’s alright to install these to help boost productivity and focus.
Take Adequate Breaks
It can be difficult going from a home environment where you could get up as you pleased and move around to a more restrictive office setting. Even if you won’t be able to completely leave your desk, it is important to get up and stretch at least once an hour for a few minutes.
It can be helpful to walk in place at your desk or, if your boss is alright with it, step outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air. Moving around will help keep your head clear, get your blood moving, and can help combat the feeling of being trapped.
Make the most of your regular lunch and other breaks as well. Eat outside or at least away from your desk whenever possible. Bring your own lunch to maximize the time that you have to yourself. Take this time to do something that you enjoy as well that disconnects you from work, such as reading a book.
Prepare Your Things the Night Before
This applies to both work and home. At home, make sure your bag, lunch, and other necessities are packed and ready to go in the morning so that you don’t have to rush. This helps both save you money and helps reduce stress for the day ahead.
At work, before you leave for the day, take a few minutes to organize your desk and have everything ready to start work again. Taking a few minutes while you’re in the zone to prep your next workday can make a world of difference when you’re tired and bleary eyed in the morning. It takes little effort and your future self will thank you.
Above all, try not to stress about the things that you can’t control at work. Your mental and physical health are more important than anything else, so make sure that you take the time to give yourself some grace and self-care as you return to work.