Balancing WFH and Working in the Office After Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it, especially in the workplace. For the last few months, many employees have found themselves in the position of working from home exclusively. Some may have had prior experience working remotely, while for others this was a completely new challenge.
As many regions across the country start efforts to reopen, employees may find themselves back in the office very soon. These changes are likely to be implemented gradually, allowing for many to have a blended model where they shift between working from home and working in the office.
For many of us, the opportunity to work from home has been eye opening. It has allowed us to design our own schedules – whether that means having an earlier start to our day so that we have a longer lunch to spend time with our kids, or taking short breaks throughout the day to complete errands around the house.
The ‘new normal’ now consists of technology and video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeeting, all of which have enabled us to successfully work from home. Employers have moved away from traditional thinking where productivity is only found in an office environment as many have a newfound confidence in their teams ability to work from home productively.
Many organizations are planning for employees to work in the office a few days a week, and at home the rest of the week. Being back in the office may allow for more in person re connection and time for meetings, whereas Working from home the rest of the week will allow for increased concentration and continued virtual collaboration.
As you find yourself transitioning into spending a few days working in the office, how can you maintain balance and make the transition easier?
Stick to your Routine
If you’ve found that you prefer tackling mundane tasks in the morning and using your afternoon to work on bigger projects or conducting meetings, try to keep it that way once you go back into the office. If you need to start your morning out with a fresh cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal, spend 5 minutes once you get into the office doing that for yourself before you get into your work rhythm. The sense of familiarity that comes with having a routine will help ease the transition.
Use your time effectively
It’s a good idea to plan your work week activities based on your location. Say you are in the office at the start of the week and working from home towards the end. Planning meetings and collaboration activities while you are in the office is a good use of your time. Then, you can plan to work on the bigger projects at home where you can dedicate the time to be focused and productive. Make sure to let others know your schedule, and where you will be on what days so they can plan on seeing you in the office as well if needed.
Recreate your Office Space
Make yourself feel like you’re at home by creating more of a positive, welcoming space. One of the biggest differences with working out of an office is the lack of convenience you had at while at home. While you probably won’t get to work out of your sweatpants, something as simple as bringing a blanket in for when you get chilly or a pair of headphones to listen to music while you work can make you feel more comfortable. You could also bring in a few pictures of family, or small plants for your desk. It’s also a good idea to plan your meals and think about preparing lunch or snacks to take with you. Also, don’t forget your equipment from home that you need in the office and vice-versa. Nothing can feel worse than showing up at the office and realize you forgot something important at home like your reading glasses back at your home office desk.
Make your Time Count
More often than not, being in an office environment allows for a stronger cultural connection and more impromptu conversation, which can lead to collaborative energy. Take advantage of your time being in the office. You may decide to rearrange your week accordingly to make the most of in person collaboration and meeting time (while social distancing, of course!)
Working in the office can also give you a sense of belonging, especially if you’ve been quarantining at home alone. If this describes your current situation, the change of pace with getting back into your office will be refreshing.
No one can say for sure what will be happening in the months ahead, but it seems likely that most companies will implement a long-lasting policy allowing employees to have a flexible and blended work schedule. If we continue to look for ways to make this change easier on ourselves, then the effects on the workforce will be very positive.
When planning to split your time between working at home and in the office, panning and holding effective meetings that make the most of your time are a key ingredient for success.
Download this exclusive FREE Best Practices For Facilitating Effective Virtual Meetings Checklist!