Ask Attorney Jennifer B.: How to Prepare to Go Back to the Office
After sheltering at home now for most of the year, some of us are ready to return to our offices as workplaces begin to reopen. While we once wondered how we would ever get accustomed to working at home, now the question is how to re-adapt to working away from home. The COVID-19 virus is not eradicated and safety protocols are still essential, so our workplaces will likely look different from what we recall. Nonetheless, going back to the office will be a return to some degree of normalcy.
The following tips will help you or your team mentally prepare for the return to work:
Get Back to a Schedule
One of the benefits of working from home is having some flexibility with our workday that differed from most offices. Since most courts were closed and many clients were also working, it did not matter too much when our workday started and ended. Returning to the office means returning to a normal workday. As such, if we start preparing for this routine now, the change will not be so shocking. Thus, we need to start getting up at the time we used to rise to get to work on time. We also need to end our workday at the end of our pre-COVID office hours. Be sure to notify clients of this change, so they are aware of when you can be reached. Getting back to this routine prior to physically returning to the office, will make the transition that much easier.
Get Your Home Life in Order
Working from home also allows us the flexibility to fit other activities into our normal workday. From doing laundry to helping children with virtual school; work and life has become intermingled. Going back to the office will require planning and organization. For those with school-age children who are learning from home, it may also require enlisting some outside help.
Dress to Impress
Returning to the office means having to dress professionally (and not just from the waist up). Organizing your work wardrobe prior to going back to work, will make the transition easier. A new addition to our wardrobes, and a requirement in most workplaces, is a mask. Make sure to have at least a few comfortable masks that are easy to wear and are also suitable for interacting with clients and fellow attorneys.
Look Forward to Interacting With Colleagues and Clients
Although most offices are limiting the amount of personnel allowed in at any one time and implementing social distancing policies, one of the best parts of working in an office is to be around our colleagues. Let’s face it, working from home can be very isolating. While we may not be able to meet in person with our clients yet, letting them know that we are back in our offices will give them the comfort of knowing that we are back to business as usual. And our zoom backgrounds will no longer need to be virtual pictures of our office, but the real thing.
Getting accustomed to working from home was no easy task, yet amazingly, we did it. For many, going back to the office will be similarly challenging, not only because we are going back to a new atmosphere with safety precautions that we never knew before, but also because we are still facing a pandemic that presents a serious health risk for many. Nonetheless, with the right preparation and precautions, we can make our return to work as safe as possible and be able to focus on getting back to business.