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News article22 October 2021European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Our top 5 tips for employees returning to the workplace

After working from our kitchens, living rooms and even bedrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic, returning to the office may seem daunting. Read our top 5 tips for a smooth transition back to the workplace.

Our top 5 tips for employees returning to the workplace

1. Allow time to adjust

If your employer allows it, try to gradually re-introduce yourself back to your normal place of work. Initially, visiting the workplace a few days a week and working from home on other days will help to give you time to adjust to the differences between the working environments. For many people, returning to the workplace will be a huge change, with more people, noise and travel time, and going back full-time may take some getting used to.

2. Adapt your weekly routine

Adding a commute to your day is bound to take more time than making your way to your home office, which means setting an earlier alarm. To prepare for returning to the workplace, even if it is just one day a week, start to think about consistently getting up at the time you’d need to on days you are leaving the house and preparing your lunch the night before. This will make returning to the workplace a lot easier and less of a change from your regular routine.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Everyone’s return to work looks different and companies are exploring a range of different policies. This may leave you with a lot of questions. Before returning to the workplace, make sure you have shared your queries with your employer, whether they are about parking spaces, bike storage and lockers, or health and safety measures. It is important you know what to expect when you get there. The more you know, the more comfortable you will be. If you aren’t sure of your company’s remote and hybrid working policies, start the conversation!

4. Explore new ways of working

The post-COVID-19 world of work is a lot more flexible. You may want to consider starting work earlier to avoid rush hour traffic or testing hybrid working patterns if your company’s policy allows it. Once you have checked with your employer, find out what works for you and what maximises your productivity, as well as your health and wellbeing. You could find more time to spend with your family or doing the things you love, making the working week more enjoyable while meeting your corporate goals.

5. Don’t forget about online tools

If you shifted to more collaborative online tools during the pandemic, keep using them in the workplace. In many cases, collaboration has improved across teams and businesses, and these innovations will continue to be useful and strengthen work systems. New online platforms will have a lasting impact on working practices and continue to allow colleagues to engage regardless of where they are. This also means that your approach to work does not need to change when you re-enter the workplace.

For more tips on working after the COVID-19 pandemic, see our Why soft skills and emotional intelligence are more important than ever


Why soft skills and emotional intelligence are more important than ever


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