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Are you ready to return to the office in 2021

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As the new year takes hold, it’s hard not to reflect on the dramatic changes that have taken place in the workplace over the last year – remote work, social distancing in the office, touchless tech applications and the mandatory wearing of face masks just to name a few. So, much has changed in the last year that it’s hard to remember what normal looks like anymore.

With a slowdown in the global pandemic many corporations have started to open their doors again requesting and in some instances demanding that workers return to the office, but it may prove more difficult with a significant number of workers across the globe declaring that they never wish to return to the office again.

Still, working from home was meant to be a temporary measure, so workers may not have much of a choice in the matter. This begs the question, are you ready to return to the office? Lets take a look at the pros and cons.

The Pros

On the side that's relieved to return to the office, they can look forward to the re-separation of their home and work life. If you don't enjoy bringing your work home, being back at the office can bring order to these two aspects of your life.

It's also great news for those who miss seeing and chatting with their coworkers. Face-to-face communication with your workmates can help boost your motivation and reinforces your sense of camaraderie.

Moreover, the predictability and the purpose that comes with following a routine can be a comfort that many workers want back. You have a better reason for waking up early and dressing your best when you have to commute and meet up with your superiors.

The Concerns

On the other hand, there are a whole host of reasons for being hesitant with going back to working from the office. One of the most pressing is the issue of health and safety. While there is some degree of control over the spreading of the coronavirus, other workers would rather be safe than sorry and stay in the comforts of their home.

You could also find your current arrangement to be a better fit in terms of work-life balance. There's the flexibility in managing your workload and household tasks that being at the office just can't offer.

Other possible concerns include feelings of anxiety which stem from the having to adjust to a tighter schedule or going back to commuting to the workplace. Some don't appreciate constantly hustling and dealing with a long, arduous commute.

When you don't feel ready

You've gone over the pros and cons, but what if you don't think you're ready for the return?

Some companies understand that the transition from WFH to the office takes some readjusting for some employees. So instead of choosing between WFH or office, they apply a hybrid model where workers come in the office on certain days and WFH on others. It depends on the company whether the hybrid model will be a permanent arrangement or a transitional one that serves to help workers slowly adjust before going back to the office full-time.

How to tell your boss you want to WFH

If your company does not use a hybrid model, another way is to approach your manager and open a discussion where you could try to find a compromise. You should go into this discussion with a clear idea of why you want to continue working from home and what specific working arrangement you need.

Focus on how letting you WFH can be mutually beneficial overall for you, your team, and your manager. It also helps to have a plan outlined to help show your manager that your WFH arrangement is working for you and your team. Give your boss some space to think about your suggestions so they have enough time to warm up to the idea and let them add their own conditions as well.

Tips on making the return easier

  1. If you're feeling anxious over the heavier workload or the riskiness of working outside, adopting your old routine can give you a sense of familiarity. However, don't overexert yourself and take things slow; start with getting back to commuting and rest up whenever you're feeling drained.
  2. If you're experiencing some friction between coworkers, understand that it's natural since everyone was affected differently by the pandemic. Some could be excited to get back to the office while others need more time. Be empathetic and sensitive about the struggles others are facing.
  3. If you're looking forward to heading to the office, retain your positive mindset and be kind to yourself in case you're faced with setbacks during your experience. Be proactive about making the change work for you.

Going back to your old routine of working in an office can be both a good and a bad thing, depending on your preference. In the end, it's about sticking to which option gives the most comfort and familiarity. Nonetheless, don't forget that these times also provide the opportunity for us to grow as long as we are prepared for the change it can bring. It may not be comfortable but by the end of the experience, it can help us grow as a professional and as a person.

Half the Sky's mission is to supply the tools that can give every woman the ability to build a successful career and be fully prepared for the future of work. So, that they can lead a healthy, prosperous and more balanced/blended lifestyle of their choosing.  By building your confidence, you’re setting foundations to empower yourself and your career.  The world is your oyster, and it starts with you. 

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About half the sky
 

half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women connecting you to career opportunities at companies that care. Providing you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the rapidly changing workplace.

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