More than a year after the coronavirus pandemic propelled millions of American workers to leave their cubicles, conference rooms and high-tech offices and start working from home, the era of remote work started to shift. As vaccination rates increase, many are looking towards what a “return to normal” in the new workforce will be like. So, what’s the best way to ease into an office routine in a hybrid workplace? We’ve got some tips to make the transition simpler.
Set a schedule. Once you know how many days or hours per week your employer wants you to be physically present in the office, make a schedule you can stick to each week. This will make it easier to plan your work and personal life. A hybrid schedule leaves room for flexibility when you need it, but having a weekly plan will make it simpler to schedule meetings and other appointments.
Get the most out of your office hours. If you know you will be in the office two days a week, make sure those are the days you are focused on connecting with co-workers. This is the time to schedule in-person meetings instead of video chats. Small-group and project meetings can be penciled in on these days. Lunch meetings and after-work errands can all fit into these days.
Maximize remote work time. If possible, use the hours you spend working remotely to get your solo, heads-down work completed. Maximize your at-home efficiency by making a list each day of all the co-workers, clients and others you need to touch base with by email or phone. If you are working on a few different projects, map out time for each. Because you are likely packing a lot of work into your remote hours, make sure to take a few breaks during the day for a quick walk, errands, or just some downtime.
Make sleep and exercise routines. Because a hybrid work schedule will feel different at first, it’s good to have some predictable non-work things you can count on. No matter if it’s a day you are working at home or headed to the office, keep your wake-up and bedtime the same. Ditto for your regular workouts. Don’t allow your work schedule to bump them aside. Regular exercise will help you stay healthy and improve your sleep.
Safety precautions. Before you return to the office, make sure you know what your employer’s guidelines are for COVID-19 prevention in terms of face masks and social distancing. If your company has not set any guidelines, consider following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations: Unvaccinated people should wear a face mask indoors in public places, practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently. People who are fully vaccinated also may want to wear a mask indoors in public places if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission of COVID-19 or its Delta variant.