The Back to Work Checklist

Exactly two years ago, in March 2020, the work-life for many white-collar workers was abruptly changing. Exactly two years ago, as the first isolated covid-19 cases started turning into hundreds of contained people, companies were starting to implement a now well-known reality: remote working.

Today, unless a new variant makes its way out in the world, more and more companies are expecting their workers to return to the office for at least a portion of the working week. For example, multinationals such as Citigroup, Google and Apple are expecting their employees back in the office from March 21st, April 4th and April 11th respectively.

These changes will give a start to a new era, the hybrid work one, which will require new adjustments from workers. People will have to adjust to the new physical reality of being surrounded by three-dimensional colleagues and move around the office.

But, what can you do to rapidly readjust to office life? Here you can find a checklist to follow:

  • Wear proper clothes to the office

After two years getting dressed in proper clothes might seem an exaggeration but remember that the way we dress carries a statement of who we are and who we intend to be. Therefore, it might be a good chance to show the colleagues that we are ready to work and to adapt to this new situation.

  • Make eye contact with the colleagues you meet in the halls and at the coffee machine

This skill might be relearned, and it might make you feel uncomfortable at the beginning. Just remember that a study in 2016 found that only 3 seconds of mutual eye contact are considered right for the average person.

  • Small talk with colleagues

Whenever you meet with someone is a good moment to ask them about family, politely smile and nod when required. Even if you think that this is lost time it is not. Researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Exeter found that small talk enhances workers’ sense of well-being and connectedness. Thus, try to re-develop this skill as soon as possible.

  • Do not work on other tasks while in a meeting

Unfortunately, there is no turned-off camera to cover you anymore therefore once you are in a meeting you should be concentrated on what the people around you are saying and doing. Thus, organize your work around the meetings and start counting what is scheduled as “busy time”.


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