Ten Tools and Tips for Returning to The Office After Working from Home

With at least parts of the world getting back to normal as COVID19 gets more under control, a lot of us are going back to the office. I recently did so, teaching on campus for the first time in over a year, and it’s been a bit of an adjustment. Here, I want to share some of my experiences as some tools and tips that I think will make the transition a little easier for you.

Comfortable Shoes

Working from home, you probably have been walking a lot less than you had previously. With that said, your feet will need some time to get used to walking like you used to.

Of course, if your office has a dress code, you have to follow that. Within that dress code, at the very least avoid breaking in new shoes on the first few days back to the office.

Update Your Bag

Over the last year, has your old work bag become your new gym bag, or maybe your wide’s diaper bag? I know of one person who forgot an apple in her briefcase, which was in her office when we all got the email to abandon campus for the semester. The results were less than good.

Before you head back, it might be worth investing in a new bag to carry all of your daily essentials. Even in a professional office space, I think a backpack is a good way to go, and is usually very convenient and saves your shoulders and back.

Try a Hygiene Kit

Working from home got me used to some new things, like brushing my teeth and freshening up after lunch. It’s a little less convenient to do that at the office, but having a little hygiene kit can make long days feel a lot more humane.

In mine, I keep three essentials: a toothbrush/paste, some flushable wipes, and a flew floss threaders. That way, even if I only have a few minutes, I can clean up between classes to take a second and come back to things fresh.

Upgrade your Lunchbox

Another thing I liked about working from home is the ability to have good, home-cooked food every day. Over the year, it also saved me a lot of money.

Before going back, I got a nice lunch box kit that’s stackable and comes with a set of plastic cutlery and some sauce containers. Now I make lunch while I make breakfast, and, if there’s room, even toss both a snack and my hygiene kit right in the box, meaning I only need the one object taking up room in my new bag.

Take Your Coffee from Home

Generally, store-bought coffee isn’t very good. It’s especially not good when it’s made by underpaid people who get yelled at way too much over the course of the day.

Instead, a good thermos and your preferred brand of coffee will get you through the day, save some cash, and is a lot better than what you’d get otherwise.

Consider a Daily Sunscreen

Men are generally pretty bad about skincare, and we need to change that. IF you’re going to be outside a lot more now than you have been over the last year, it makes sense to start using a lotion that has some SPF to it.

Ideally, you can find a low SPF lotion that feels light enough that you won’t want to skip it. In addition to keeping your skin a lot nicer, some SPF will also help to prevent skin cancer for the years to come.

Be Patient

Things are not how they used to be. Supply lines are in disarray, folks are worried about the future, and we’ve all spent a lot of the last year and a half inside.

With that said, it’s important to be patient with each other, especially when things arent’ going as we want them to be at work or school. Those are the time when it’s vital to give each other a bit of a break, as we’re all human beings here.

Expect Weirdness

Again, remember we’ve been inside and by ourselves for a long time. Additionally, if we’re wearing masks, we’re also missing out on a lot of the visual cues that help conversations work.

When things are awkward, I find it best to try to get clearer in my communications, try to annunciate more, and tell people who I’m feeling and thinking. That can help make things just a little less weird.

Make Commutes Fun

Now with things going back to normal, we also have to spend a lot more time in our cars. I love driving more than most, but being stuck in rush hour traffic is boring and frustrating.

Lately, I’ve been listening to whole albums. In a day where a lot of us listen to music in premade playlists, we don’t always get the full artistic picture when we listen to music. I find that I like some songs a lot better when listened to as the artist intended it.

Be Kind

I think something we haven’t really dealt with as a society, or as individuals, is that things are just different now.

A lot of people have gone through more in the past year than they had in their lives up to that point. I think, in particular, about people who are in their first years of college.

These people were kids when COVID hit. It canceled their last seasons of sports, music programs, prom, and high school graduation. Then their first full year of college was done at home when it was harder to get some space and independence.

Of course, in that kind of environment, people are a lot testier than they used to be. If we all take a little time and some effort to reflect on what we’ve all been through, then I think we will be a long way to making the world a little better and more normal.

I hope that you find some of this useful as we all try to figure out how to live in a post-COVID world.
About author
Garrett is a writer and commentator based in the South. His areas of expertise lie in cooking, fashion, and the outdoors among others. He has been writing and educating professionally for years, and enjoys creating online discourses around positively masculine spaces.


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