Working from home is hard but getting back to work after the long lockdown can be even harder. Lifting the lockdown can bring a mixture of emotions from joy, relief, sadness and even fear. But in order for you and our economy to survive we have to return to the norm.
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” Dolly Parton
It is important that we approach this change in a positive way instead of giving these thoughts any weight, try to change the way you view things and life in general.
Emotionally your pace has been in the slow lane for a couple of weeks and if you are in a job where you are suddenly put back into the fast lane, you are challenged to get up follow the pace as quickly as possible. We have some tips to assist you with getting back into your work routine:
Adopt work-friendly habits in advance
Start getting back into routine a couple days before you start working. Most people need at least 8 hours of sleep. Productive people have established sleep routines enabling them to stay fresh and focused for the day. Go to bed early and get up the same time you would usually get ready for work. This will ensure that you are physically ready before returning.
Prepare for the day ahead
Prepare by washing, ironing and hanging up your work clothes the night before and polishing your shoes is a great time saver by not having to do it in the morning. Parents can prepare school lunches the night before to save time. Avoid leaving anything you need to do for the morning. Gather everything you must take to work and place it in your vehicle or briefcase the night before. The key is to be prepared and to ensure there is no rush on your first day.
Being prepared mentally is very important to ensure you start your day and get right into it. Write a to do list with things you will need to accomplish and start the day with a positive attitude.
Give yourself time
Inactivity is going to cause some detriment on your physical performance. If you were diligent about your routine, don’t expect to return to it right away. Rather than assuming you will go right back into your old routine, give yourself some time to resettle. Unpack and organize your working space and give yourself at least one day to resettle. After a day or so, your natural work rhythm will fall back into place and you can start to feel productive again. Having your lunch away from your desk will help make the transition back a lot more enjoyable.
Take a gentle approach
Ensure you ease yourself back into your routine by doing something you enjoy first. Work out where your focus is and plan out your day. Being overwhelmed is not the way to launch back in.
Tackle your inbox
If you didn’t have access to your emails from home, hopefully you turned on an out-of-office on your email. Luckily almost all companies were also facing the same lockdown restrictions that you had and hopefully you won’t return to angry emails. But there are still likely a mountain of emails that needs catching up. Don’t try and pressure yourself to get through all of them at once. Figure out a system to answer the most important emails first and then return to the others later. Give yourself a realistic timeline to catch up and try to stick to it so that you don’t feel like you are virtually drowning.
Catch up and plan the following day and week. Set boundaries for yourself and avoid all meetings including client meetings for the first week back. Ensure you don’t underestimate catching up on all your work and not being able to meet all your responsibilities.
Try to go outside for at least 30 minutes every day
Your workload might be a lot higher than it was before the lockdown. But to ensure mental and physical health try to spend at least 30 minutes of your day outside the office. This will allow you time to revaluate your goals for the day and refocus on your work. Taking a break will also improve your productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance. It will also help you to de-stress and re-charge for the rest of the workday.
“Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine”. Mario Fernandez