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Life after Lockdown: 7 tips for returning to the office after Covid-19.

 
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since the UK first went into lockdown. While dealing with not seeing our friends and family, childcare and missing the pub, we’ve also spent a LOT more time indoors; for most that has included working from home.
 
While some are itching to get back to office life, many people have grown accustomed to the benefits of working from home: no early morning commutes, more time with the kids and pets, saving money, and of course the ability to wear pyjama bottoms in a zoom call (just don’t stand up!).
 
Women working from home with baby, Bright PUrple
 
Although many employers are looking to offer full time or blended remote working, some employees face the inevitable return to the office. After a year at home, it is inevitable that people may have anxieties or concerns about transitioning back to office life.
 
We've put together 7 of our top tips for mentally and physically preparing for your return to work.
 

7 tips to help prepare you for returning to work:

 

1. Re-wire your body clock

Facing a return to a long commute? Time to start waking up and going to bed earlier to get used to those early starts again. Set your alarm a little earlier each day until you are getting up at the time you need to be for travelling. Why not make the most of the time by taking a morning walk or preparing a nice breakfast!
 
It's not just about getting up earlier though; your eating habits may need to change too. If you’ve found yourself eating dinner earlier than usual due to being at home, try to push back your meal times to when you’d usually eat after the office commute. That way when you go back to work, you won’t be so hangry by the time you get home!
 

2. Dress like you would in the office

If you (like some of us..) have been enjoying working in loungewear or pyjamas for a few months, you might benefit from dressing in your office attire.
 
A simple adjustment back to more professional clothing (or whatever you'd wear at work!) will begin to shift your mindset back to the more formal environment of the office. Remember though, things have changed, and many offices are transforming to a more relaxed dress code. Consider discussing this with your employer if you have any suggestions for them!
 
Women in armchair, working from home
 

3. Manage your budget/spending

With money saved from commutes and lack of pints to enjoy, you may have found other ways to spend your money in lockdown, or be enjoying the extra savings. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for seeing your expendable income depleting by revising your budget and ensuring you have enough set aside for those commuter costs, Costa Coffees, and meal deal lunches.
 

4. Ask your employer questions

It is SO, SO vital that you don’t undermine your own concerns; they are important and you have every right for them to be addressed. If you have any concerns, doubts or questions, ask them! It is your employer’s duty to ensure a safe, comfortable working environment, so don’t feel guilty about asking anything.
 
Outside of health and safety protocol, now is the time to address other options while your employer might be more open to making reasonable adjustments: trust me they will be more flexible than you think! Unless you are itching to be back in the office full time, you might want to discuss your blended/flexible working options or gradual return. Of course this is dependent on the nature of your work, but regardless of your concerns, don't be afraid to have open conversations in order to relax any feelings of anxiety or worry.
 
Ask questions, Bright PUrple tips for returning to work
 

5. Be aware of your mental health

Mental health is no joke, so it’s important that you take the time to reflect on how you are feeling. There are a number of helpful tools, websites, apps and services that can help you deal with any feelings of stress, anxiety or depression.
 
Here are some key resources and ideas that might be helpful to you:

6. Communicate

It can often be hard to talk about how we are feeling, but do your best to communicate with your employers and colleagues along with close friends and family. Tying in with mental health and asking questions, the more you can communicate in general about your worries, the more the people around you will be able to understand how you are feeling; particularly your employers who may be able to make adjustments for you to ease you back into office working. 
 

7. Write a list of things you are excited for

There must be SOME things you are excited to return to the office for! Try writing a list to get yourself excited. Here’s ours:
  • Seeing our colleagues! We miss them and we can’t wait for hugs (when allowed)
  • The after work pint! Milne's we've missed you!
  • Greggs Bacon Rolls...mmmmm
  • Less video calls – because there’s only so many times you can say “you’re on mute”
Colleagues high fiving, returning to work Bright PUrple
We're going to be like this, except with masks on, and with elbows.
 
 
So there are some of our tips for returning to the office. Anything we’ve left out? Let us know!
 
Still set on working from home? Many of our current vacancies offer remote or blended working.
 
 
 
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