Stressed about going back to the office? Here are 8 ways to make it easier

Since then Vaccination became widely available For adults, the HR chats and C-suite and Teams chats around the country focused on the same topic: how and when, we’ll get back to the office. ? Some organizations have already implemented plans in the summer, just to roll them back with the spread of the Delta variation; Others have obsessively set the date just to push them forward at the last minute. Depending on your industry and your state’s politics, you may have been called back a few months ago and are currently struggling with the muddled zoom space with your colleagues. while at the office.
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Whatever your situation, all of this can feel messy, emotional, and unsatisfying. Over the past 20 months, I’ve talked to a variety of companies, professionals, and employees about the pitfalls and promising changes that can come with the shift from a completely remote office time or the option to at least some mandatory live time and the best overall advice I can assume it will continue to feel messy, full, and unsatisfying for a while – but that doesn’t means there is no way for employees and employers to minimize and address those feelings.

For recruiters:

1) Realize that the future is flexible

Companies determined to go back in time to pre-COVID-19 standards is a harsh reality. It probably won’t manifest immediately, but it will show up in the long run: in the form of attrition, hard to recruit, hard Diversification efforts. Depending on your organization and the type of people you want to work there, flexibility can involve any combination of remote and in-person work. But people are used to a new way of doing things, and many don’t want to simply go back to the way it was. Either you will fight that tide and watch everyone leave, or start grappling with the future now. It’s your decision.

Read more: Companies are creating empathy to keep employees happy. It’s not that easy

2) Continue to communicate the process

Maybe you’re allowing people to work wherever they want. Maybe you’re asking them to work from home one day a week or asking them to come to the office one day a week. Whatever your scenario, the more clearly your employees understand expectations and plans, the less stress there is about the unknown. But it is equally essential to demonstrate a willingness to change inactive policies. For example, if a company decides that everyone needs to be in the office during “prime hours” on certain days, but after three months those hours feel arbitrary, commit to trying to find out what do work at its best. Openness to adjustment will generally make the roll-back process feel less oppressive.

3) Keep soliciting feedback – And keep listening to it

Asking employees for feedback and then completely ignoring it in favor of the C-suite or management is a recipe for widespread morale. If you’re going to rule your company with laws and edicts from above, pretending to the contrary will only make employees more resentful of you. But if you’re really interested in building a flexible working environment that serves the best interests of the company as a whole, continue to actively listen to (and act on!) the opinions of your employees. about how they can best do their jobs. How do caregivers feel? Parents of children under 5 years old? New employees and subordinates? Too many meetings – or are meetings currently serving the wrong function? Has the job description changed? There is no better time to visit again. The more you think of “back to the office” as “finding the future of flexible work for all of us,” the more collaborative the whole process feels—and more satisfying.

4) Agile management is its own skill

Managing people is hard. Even before the pandemic hit, most managers had little training in how to do it well. And managing people in your eyes on a daily basis is a very different skill than managing people remotely. Acknowledging that difficulty – and then figuring out how best to provide training and support (really valuable!) will make good, flexible management possible. Much of the pandemic has been spent cultivating patience with one another as we all try to defend it in real, cumulative, escalating forms of coercion. But the days of “just do it” telework are over. It’s time to start understanding how real, sustainable systems will work in the future – and that includes governance.

Read more: The Pandemic Reveals How Much We Hate Our Jobs. Now we have a chance to renew our work

For employees:

1) Admit the discomfort

When you first get back to the office, it can feel like the first day of school. But if going into the office is accompanied by stress about commuting to work, or the distance from childcare, or just the overwhelming fear associated with COVID-19 exposure, especially for employees high-risk or parents whose children are underage for the vaccine, that feeling quickly fades, if it emerges at all. We are not rubber bands that can only bounce back to our former way of working. Be patient with yourself and whatever comes with any distress, burnout, or confusion – and work with your manager (who, see above, should also think about ways to better to communicate with you!) To find out the best way to not only admit but give you space to handle them. That might include gradual upgrades, weekly check-ins (with yourself, but also with your team) on how the schedule works, and scheduling a PTO now to allow yourself to absorb some of the changes. change. This is a big broblem; It’s okay, take your time trying to get it right.

2) Define your rhythm

When are your hours of deep work? What is your best time (and place) for administrative work? What about meetings and one-on-one? Flexible work means the opportunity to make your workday (at least in some form!) revolve around what works best for you. Friend. You may have done this to some extent during the pandemic, but reopening offices offers an opportunity to review your schedule in a meaningful way. On days when you work from home, how can you create in and out ramps to ease in and out on the workday? How can you block the gap in your calendar for a lunch that isn’t meant for your computer?

Read more: Young people are leaving their jobs in record numbers — and not coming back

3) Review and revise the worst parts of remote work

So many of the things workers loathe about remote work – especially the long hours of nonstop Zoom meetings – have become standardized for no reason. Now, again, is the perfect time to review the meetings and how they went. Which zoom can be a phone call? What conference calls could be emails with a slide deck? How does blocking your view of your own face during a call (and by extension the tendency to self-reflection) make Zooms still less tiring? How can you really walk that you always said you would? It’s lost month to work remotely feels even somewhat normal. It will also take time to improve on the worst, burnout caused models have evolved during that time.

4) The right to search elsewhere is reserved

How your organization handles the transition back to the office is indicative of how your organization handles, well, everything. If people in charge ignore employee concerns and questions, if instructions feel arbitrary or punitive, if your boss can’t understand why they’re removing talent, there’s a lot going on. other organizations, many of which are hiring entirely or largely for remote positions, that are looking for. The pandemic has shed a lot of light on how you spend most of your day how you spend your life. No job is perfect – but some, especially at organizations committed to finding this new future, hybrid reality, much better than others. Stressed about going back to the office? Here are 8 ways to make it easier

Aila Slisco

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