By Laurie Vicente, CSMP | February 12, 2021


Experts anticipate that 75% of corporate professionals will return to work in some capacity by the end of the year. What that return will look like exactly is still to be determined, but you can expect some level of ‘back to the office’ in the coming months.

As COVID-19 vaccines get rolled out throughout the U.S., all eyes are staying on the progress – as the successful administering of doses to the masses is no doubt an integral part of when office doors will reopen.

Since the beginning of lockdown, non-essential workers have scrambled to blend their work-lives and with their home-lives with no perfect outcome. What was once an occasional work from home perk turned into a sudden mix of zoom meeting overload, childcare, pet care, limited space, weak Wi-Fi and a public health crisis—all blended into one.

And although the summer months offered some reprieve when Covid phases improved letting some individuals dip their toes back into the workplace, the winter ultimately snapped most back into a remote environment, where many still stay.

Now as we look ahead with some sense of positivity, it’s imperative for your mental, emotional and physical well-being to begin to prepare for a return to the office now. Common practices such as commuting, in-person meetings, coffee chats, networking events and other normal business doings—may cause anxiety for some who have been removed for nearly a year.

Since this topic affects many of us, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss some tips for a post-pandemic office return. Read on for 3 Tips for Preparing Your Return to the Office Post-Pandemic.

  1. Ease into it.
    Right now, not many companies have their return plans finalized. It’s virtually impossible to have policies locked up at this point as businesses must hold on local, state and federal guidance before making anything definitive. Because of this, you likely have ample time to prepare for a return to the office and should ease into it. This way, by time you are mandated to go back into the office (if at all), you won’t be in such a state of shock when you do. For instance, practice your commute into work. Perhaps you will no longer take public transportation and will start to drive instead. It might help you to do a test run. Or, go to lunch at restaurant near your office building. Meet up with your manager or a co-worker in your office to get a feel for your workspace again and to see if there are any changes in protocols the building might have put in place. Whatever steps you need to do to get back into the groove of physically returning to the workplace, you should take the time to do.
  1. Voice your opinion.
    Most employers are listening to their team members—probably now more than ever. If you have a strong stance on something related to your level of comfort with returning to work, talk it out with your manager. Chances are if it’s a reasonable request, they will present your concerns with leadership. It’s likely, they will adhere to your considerations. Or, if you are part of a vulnerable population and need special requirements, let your manager or HR department know. It’s best to be openly communicative and transparent so that everyone can feel safe and comfortable when they are back at work.
  1. Maintain a hybrid schedule.
    Studies have shown that some companies are being so productive in their remote environment that they may never return to the office. While that surely is not going to be the case for all businesses, many will likely adopt a hybrid model i.e. have professionals come into the office a few days a week and allow them to work remotely the remaining days of the week. This will likely be the new ‘new normal’ that we will come to know. While being 100% remote has its challenges, alternating between home and the office throughout the week may actually be beneficial in the long run, especially as childcare and education struggles continue throughout many communities.

What are some other tips for professionals preparing a return to the office? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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