The number of people working from home more than doubled last year due to the pandemic. Now, with lockdown restrictions easing and the vaccine rollout in the UK going strong, many of us are beginning to think about heading back into the office.
However, after almost 18 months of working from home, there are certain things to consider that we’ve not thought about for a long time. Many of these are processes and everyday actions we took for granted as they were just the natural part of the working day.
Whether you’re going in for the occasional day or you’re leaving working from home behind for good, you might feel like you could do with a refresher. Here are some ideas to help you ease back into office life.
Get to sleep
It’s likely that working from home will have dramatically changed your sleeping habits. Not having to do the commute every day has meant a lie in as we’ve rolled out of bed an hour later than we usually would. Likewise, you might have gotten into the habit of staying up a little later to finish catching up with Line of Duty or scrolling through Insta.
Suddenly, you’re going to be back into a routine that you’ve not been in for well over a year. That means you’ll need to try to get to bed earlier and stop snoozing the alarm until 8am. To help you relax, switch your screens off an hour before you intend to be asleep, and listen to a soothing meditation, such as the ones available on Headspace or the Calm app or read a book. This will help you to unwind and ease into a better sleep pattern.
Dress for success
Let’s face it, we’ve all become very fond of our loungewear. That tatty old pair of leggings and hoodie might have been your go-to attire for the last year, but now is the time to dig out your office wardrobe.
Start by laying out all of your workwear. Set out your work tops, skirts, trousers and dresses. Is there anything you don’t want to wear anymore? Be brutal about the things that have to go. The chances are, the dress you wore day in, day out is one piece that you don’t like anymore.
Now you can decide on updating your wardrobe. Are there any items you want to invest in? Maybe a chic jumpsuit or a fitted pair of women’s trousers? Work out what you want to wear that will help you feel more like you’re in an office.
Check your car
If you drive, it’s likely you’ve only been pootling to the supermarket in your car over the last few months. This means that you might not have thought about maintaining your motor in the way you usually would.
But if you’re going back to the daily commute, you’ll need to make sure your tyres are roadworthy and at the right pressure, that you’ve topped up your windscreen wash, and that you’ve taken it in for a service to make sure your battery is running at full capacity. This is to keep you safe and to make sure you can get to the office easily.
Budget for office life
Accounting for the commute, whether that’s petrol, train, or bus fare, is something that you won’t have done for a while. Set aside your monthly budget to cover the cost of getting to and from the office.
Similarly, you’ve been eating at home for the last year. Now, you’ll need to go back to making sandwiches the night before or having money with you to grab some lunch while you’re at the office, so you’ll need to budget for this too.
Learn the protocols
Office life will be nothing like it was before. There will be strict cleaning regimes and social distancing measures in place that you’ll need to get to grips with. Take the time to ask questions before you go back and find out what’s expected of you before you go in. This will help you know what you’ll need to do.