I’ll be honest here: I died a little inside when the news broke that work-from-home (WFH) would no longer be the default from August 19.
On April 5, when Singapore had relaxed regulations on Safe Management Measures in workplaces, allowing up to 75% of staff to head back to the office, my company was one of the first few to implement this in a hybrid fashion – three days WFH and two days in the office.
And being someone who enjoys rolling out of bed to work in bed hair, comfy pyjamas and a mask-free environment, returning to civilisation after a year of WFH was a major adjustment.
But don’t worry if your return to office is imminent. As someone who has walked that path, let me share with you three tips that have helped me survive this transition.
3 SURVIVAL TIPS FOR RETURNING TO THE OFFICE
1. Have something to look forward to
Since returning to the office is more of a mental struggle than anything, half the battle is already won if you’re able to find something to motivate yourself with.
For some people, perhaps the thought of having an occasion to dress up and stop being a couch potato is enough to motivate them. Others may need a stronger, external form of impetus.
Personally, I was excited to be able to interact with my colleagues again. I missed the random bursts of conversations, spontaneous trips to the supermarket as well as indulging in snacks together.
Sometimes, creative ideas are even birthed through these nonsensical moments.
It’s hard to replicate such synergy and collaboration through texts and scheduled video calls. That is one motivation I have in heading back to the office.
2. Prepare yourself
Okay, I might be a little gross here but mask breath is a real thing!
Wearing masks for the entire day means bacteria are trapped within that pocket of breathing space, and this creates a stench after some time.
This is especially so after lunch, when your body breaks down the food particles, enhancing the odour.
Since masking up is required, here’s what you can prepare to work around this situation:
- Avoid food like garlic and onions that cause bad breath
- Bring toiletries to brush your teeth after every meal
- Pop some mints to freshen up your breath
- Change your mask or use mask refresher patches
Other things you can do to prepare yourself could be as simple as taking note of the dates you’re heading back to the office and sleeping early the night before.
After a year of rolling out of bed to work, I simply have difficulty waking up earlier to dress myself and travel down to the office. And thanks to the practice of reporting to work at staggered timings, my starting hours are even earlier than before!
These days I try to turn in earlier so that my body feels rested enough. Setting multiple alarms is a must now.
In your case, you might try waking up at the same time every day so that your body gets used to the new timing.
3. Refresh your workspace
Don’t underestimate the power of breathing new life into your workspace!
I recently had to switch spots with a colleague of mine and while I was initially less than excited about the arrangement, it proved quite therapeutic to deep clean and reorganise my new desk.
It was a cathartic exercise, like a spring clean where you feel shiok after purging unnecessary items that have accumulated over the year.
Refreshing your workstation is like having a fresh start and it feels good.
If Marie Kondo-ing away items that don’t bring you joy isn’t your thing, why not add items that bring you joy instead?
Another colleague of mine keeps himself happy by purchasing items that improve the quality of his working environment like cable managers and 3M hooks.
In terms of peripherals, from ergonomic mouse to stretchy seat cover to mechanical keyboard — he’s got it all. He’ll even have his favourite figurines strategically placed near his screen to give him some easy encouragement through the day.
So these are just some of the survival tips that I’ve found useful in keeping my spirits up as I return to the office. Do you have any other suggestions?
Let us know in the comments section of our social media platforms! Here’s hoping you’ll have a wonderful return to the office!
THINK + TALK
- Think of one thing you can be excited for as you return to your workplace.
- What are some things about returning to the office that you’re not so excited about?
- Why not lift these things to God in prayer? He is the one who can help you to be an excellent worker.