How to prepare for your eventual return to the office


Just recently Two months ago, a 5-mile drive from the center of Washington, DC to my home in Arlington, Virginia, took less than 10 minutes to go door-to-door even during peak hours. Now, the same 5-mile commute can take as long as 40 minutes. Gone are the days when I could make a quick stop at Trader Joe’s on the drive home, find an on-street parking space in front of the store, and get in and out of groceries in less than 20 minutes.

As more and more employers require employees to return to the office-even if only a few times a week-it is likely that all the annoying aspects of our pre-pandemic life will begin to spread into our lives-busy morning routines, Traffic, with annoying colleagues, limited time to buy groceries, and no time to exercise. All the healthy habits we developed during the pandemic—meditation in the morning, running in the afternoon, and time for family dinners at night—will also fall into chaos.

“Most people have been working from home for 18 months, they have become accustomed to their new habits and they don’t want to change it again,” said Kalina J. Michalska, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of California, Riverside. “We can get rid of the troubles of commuting and the office environment, where we have to adapt to the views and goals of our colleagues.”

In fact, during the pandemic, we spend less time driving to the office or city to work, and more time pursuing our personal passions. Travel time such as commuting time or driving to a store has been reduced by 26 minutes, from an average of 1.2 hours per day in 2019 to 47 minutes per day in 2020. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Americans spend time without commuting to do what they like. According to the same study, during 2020, men’s daily leisure time increased by an average of 37 minutes, and women’s day by 27 minutes.

This may explain why many people are anxious or troubled about the prospect of returning to the office. “Not only is our daily life disrupted again, but we are re-entering work and school while still having a huge sense of uncertainty,” said Michel Niron, Dean of the Chicago School of Occupational Psychology. For example, not every employer determines exactly when an employee will return to the office or how many days a week they need to work. Even if your manager allows you to continue working from home, you may still worry about the impact of remote work. She said that if some of your colleagues go to the office and you are not in the office, this will bring benefits to your career opportunities.

Many employees are also worried Delta variant, A Covid-19 mutation that is thought to be more contagious than the first virus. Some companies, including Google and Apple, have postponed their resumption date from September to at least October, while Amazon has postponed its resumption date to January 2022.

“Employees need to accept the fact that no matter what the rules for returning to the office are now-for example, working two days a week, wearing a mask-it may change over time,” said Nancy Halpen, The founder of Political IQ, a management consulting company headquartered in New York, helps organizations solve political problems in the office. She said that as employers work hard to figure out how employees should return to the office, employees need to wait patiently. “You won’t go back to your previous work life,” Halpern said. “The work life you are about to live will not settle down. It will be frustrating.”


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