Back in the office: Expectations vs. reality

Corworkers at the office


After a long period of working from home, many of us are currently returning to work. But even though you may have missed socialising with colleagues, it can be hard to get back to work.

After having spent countless days at home, we are now getting our lives back. We can go out, enjoy ourselves, see our friends. However, it also means getting back to the workplace, which might be a little bit scary. First off, it means having to jump out of the sweat pants and back into more traditional work attire.

Fortunately, you are not the only one experiencing that feeling.

Your colleagues have also worked on their sofa in sweats, attended Zoom meetings in their pyjama bottoms, and dealt with a sore neck from poor working postures. Many of them are most likely experiencing the same worries you are going through.

To return to work as smoothly as possible, it is a good idea to align your expectations. That way, you can take control of how you get back into the office - whether it's full time or a few days a week.

Also read: Return to the office: How to do it right

Five tips to a great office return

  1. It is normal to worry, but you must take care of your worries and deal with them. Therefore, it may be a good idea to stop and reflect when the worrying shows up. That way, you can reflect and become aware of what you are struggling with.

  2. Talk to your boss if you are having a hard time coming back. It can help set the external framework for your work and a plan for the first period back at work.

  3. Prepare a few suggestions for what will work for you to get well back in the office. When you have truthful and clear communication with your manager, things get easier.

  4. Make sure to take mental and physical breaks to get recharged during the day.

  5. Acknowledge, accept, and talk to each other about the fact that you have different ways of dealing with corona: some colleagues may be more anxious than others, and there must be room for that. 

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A healthy working community

One of the tricky things about returning to the office is that we get disrupted more quickly - and maybe rechallenge our work/life balance. Therefore, it is not just the boss you need to talk to, but all your colleagues so that you can once again establish a good working community.

To ensure a good start, it is crucial to talk to each other - both about what it has been like working at home and how you look at the future together.

All your colleagues have also worked at home. They have probably also thought about how their work-life can improve. Because even though we have missed human contact, free coffee, pens in stacks, and a printer that works, the office is also often equal to disruptions, fixed meeting times that challenge our work/life balance, and not least transport time back and forth.

Office life is calling, and with a bit of preparation, you will surely get ready.