February 22, 2021

How to adapt when change is the only constant – getting back to your ‘normal’ office routine.

We responded remarkably well to the new work-life routine demanded by the pandemic in 2020. With operations gradually returning to the physical workplace, there’s yet another different normal to adapt to.

As an employee, you have to realign to a changed way of working yet again. After so many months of working remotely, returning to work will not be the same as merely returning to the work environment after a regular break.

There are some changes we may have to start mentally preparing for. Catching up with colleagues over coffee in the pantry, for example, or sharing food may not be advisable now. There may be other concerns and new challenges like the fear of being in the close vicinity of others and additional responsibilities like caregiving at home, which may not be possible when you resume working in the office.

What can you do to transition seamlessly to the new way of work?

After finally settling into work-from-home, changing your routine once again may feel cumbersome, but it’s the reality of the times we live in. To ensure uninterrupted productivity despite the constant changes around you, here are a few habits to develop:

Upskill and reskill yourself

All of us leveraged the lockdown limbo to acquire many new skills in 2020. From working with co-workers remotely to learning flexibility and resilience in the face of new challenges and issues in our routine. Many of us developed soft skills like compassion and empathy, usually reserved for loved ones, towards our colleagues.

The pandemic-led increasing dependence on digital tools has accelerated the need for specialist digital skills, social intelligence skills and innovation. Equip yourself with these skills to set yourself on the path to success.

Share your ‘home learnings’ with colleagues:

When you’re back at work, you can talk about the new work practices you followed while working from home, which helped you improve performance and productivity. It can lead to a valuable exchange of ideas between colleagues, managers and HR. Work together to develop strategies that can help implement these ideas in the traditional workplace.

Be open in your communication

Some of you may not be able to commute the same way as before. Others may have apprehensions about using public transport. Don’t hesitate to voice your commute concerns to your workplace so that the organisation can take steps to accommodate your needs.

Remember to continue following the public health safety practices as mandated by the government and your organization – you and your colleagues can continue working in the office safely.

Continue taking care of your physical & mental well-being:

Working from home may have allowed us to sneak in a run between meetings, but that may no longer be possible once we return to the office. Make sure to take out time for physical fitness even after resuming going to the workplace.

The constant and sometimes unexpected changes can be overwhelming. It’s normal to experience a drop in productivity and lose focus quickly on some days. Remember to take regular breaks when you’re working from the office. Mindful meditation for a few minutes at your desk or practising the Pomodoro technique are some ways that can help.

We are social beings

The pandemic has resulted in circumstances that can often lead to loneliness and anxiety. We may need to maintain physical distancing, but it doesn’t have to become social. You can still connect with people virtually.

As more communities open up, take the time to meet your family and friends in pandemic-approved social settings. Talk with people you trust about your feelings and concerns. Check on others and help them. These steps help to improve your self-esteem and give you a sense of belonging.

Plan for the future. Humanity will overcome this crisis too. Be hopeful and set goals for personal growth and professional development. Goals give one a sense of purpose and something to look forward to. Plan experiences that will make you smile.

The new phase is an opportunity for us to reflect on the past and renew our mindset. Doing this helps us to unlock our potential and improve overall performance.

Wishing you Happy & Safe Working. Welcome back to your office!