With many offices closed since the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine, many professionals may have enjoyed the flexibility and convenience of working from home. However, working remotely presents its own unique challenges. Maybe it’s sharing a workspace with your spouse, a young child who doesn’t understand “I’m getting on a video chat, so I need quiet time,” or a less-than-ideal workspace such as a kitchen table. My challenge? My two dogs are perfectly happy to sleep all day, but when my 18-year-old son or wife comes home, they cannot restrain their excitement and proceed to bark loudly, a definite challenge with work calls!
Now, as offices start to reopen, several of us may be preparing to return to the office. For those who may be facing these challenges, I would imagine that they’re excited to return to a productive workspace. No matter what challenges we face returning to the office with this “new normal,” there are many ways to stay positive as you start to think about your “new” workday:
1. Preparing the Night Before:
I am not a morning person, and if you don’t believe me, just ask my wife and son. Because of this, I prep the night before so that I am ready to roll in the morning. Here are my suggestions to help you prepare the night before returning to the office:
- Set out your work attire – Many of us have not worn any business attire in a long time, so find your favorite outfit in advance.
- Prepare your lunch – If you are someone who brings your lunch to work, you may want to prepare that the night before. I know that my eating habits have not been the best lately, so maybe this is an opportunity to get back into healthy eating habits.
- Take a moment to reflect – When you are finally ready to go to bed, take a moment to reflect on the opportunity that tomorrow gives you. We are lucky that we still have a job, our company did not fold, and we get a chance to provide for our families.
2. Helpful Technology Apps:
Here are some helpful technology apps to improve your performance and get you back in the swing of things:
- Collaborate with your team and stay connected during your morning commute:
- Microsoft Teams – Join a call or collaborate with your team through file sharing
- RingCentral – Video conference or chat with your team even on the road
- Use music and podcast apps to unwind on your afternoon commute:
- iHeartRadio – Unwind on your drive with your favorite podcast or tunes
- Spotify – Jam out or pick an inspiring podcast on your ride home
- De-stress each morning or night to make this transition a bit easier:
- Calm – Meditate and relax your mind
- Headspace – Focus on your mental health and de-stress
3. The Morning Commute:
This is often one of the most challenging and frustrating parts of the workday, but maybe we can put a bit of a spin on it through self-reflection. With an hour and a half commute, here are some things that I can look forward to during my commute:
- I have a radio show that I have listened to for years (shoutout to @JSS98Rock) but haven’t listened to since the start of quarantine, so I am excited to catch back up with the show.
- Another important part of my commute was the ability to prepare for the day. As I commute in, I will play out the things that I need to get done. Maybe it is a big meeting or a project that must be completed by close of business that day. I mentally prepare for how I will attack my day.
So, while I will not consider the commute itself enjoyable, there are some positive things that can be done during this time.
4. The Office:
We know that returning to the office is going to be different than before. Maybe there will be temperature checks, the office has been rearranged for social distancing, or there will be fewer coworkers than normal. Whatever challenges you face, keep a positive attitude and be thankful for the opportunity. Embrace this time to reconnect with your colleagues and teammates. Ask them how they are doing and engage in “water cooler” chats. I’m sure there isn’t a manager that doesn’t understand this is an important part of returning to the office.
If you don’t bring your lunch with you, consider going back to your local deli or restaurant to show them some support. They have been through a tough time, so show them not only your financial support but greet them and ask them how they are making it through these unprecedented times.
5. The Afternoon Commute:
I’ll admit it is hard to find a positive spin on this one, as we all just want to be home after a long day at the office. That said, as you commute home think about the day and the new normal. Be thankful that you have a job and the ability to support your family. The best part of the afternoon commute is when you get home to your family, pets, or even just a quiet home.
I am in sales and as such, I tend to be a positive person by nature. When someone asks me if the glass is half full or half empty, I reply with “let's add some ice and then discuss it.” In every situation in life, we have a choice to make: am I going to make the best of this and stay positive, or am I going to focus on all the bad things?
Try to focus on the positive things in your work life and let the negative thoughts melt away. This may not be easy, but by trying to stay positive and thinking about positivity, you will be surprised how good it can feel.
To learn more about Gene and how he helps businesses succeed with IT, click here