Tools & Tips

Tips for Transitioning Back Into the Workplace

Guess post by Jessica Larson

The pandemic brought our economy and our entire lives to a screeching halt. People in many professions had to start working from home to slow the spread of the disease as medical professionals raced to understand it. 

We’re nowhere near being out of the woods, but many companies are starting to bring at least some employees back to the office for the first time in months. It’s challenging to return to the workplace after four months in the best of times, let alone when a highly contagious virus is still in the air. Still, if you stay flexible, protect yourself, and prepare for the worst, you can make a successful transition back into the workplace.

Dig In for the Long Haul

Many companies are starting to transition back to a traditional office setting, but some are allowing their employees to continue working remotely. If your company is asking you to continue working from home permanently, consider setting yourself up for success with a home office renovation. 

Transforming an unfinished space or building an addition onto your home is a great way to create a home office that’s quiet and productive. Consider renting a dumpster to help eliminate construction debris. It’s the perfect social distancing solution: Simply order a dumpster from a local company, then have a professional bring it to your house and haul it away when it’s full. You don’t need to have any human contact during the process.  

Protect Yourself and Your Home

Unfortunately, many of us have taken a financial hit during the pandemic. Between reduced pay and limited hours, our savings accounts might not be as healthy as they once were. Protect yourself and your home from the inevitable with a home warranty: It’s different from homeowner’s insurance and offers great protection against failed appliances and household systems. A home warranty allows you to keep your home operational even if you don’t have spare funds to cover major expenses.

Remember Your Relationships

After a four-month hiatus, chances are, some of your formerly best clients have forgotten you. As you transition back into the workplace, be sure to re-establish relationships with clients and co-workers. By maintaining relationships with co-workers, you can build a network of trusted friends and colleagues that will last throughout your career.

Keep in touch with your clients, too, by sending a personalized note or a small gift with your company’s name. In the current environment, face masks and customized hand sanitizer are great choices. Whenever your client reaches for it, your company will be the first thing that comes to mind.

Plan for the Worst

With the economy grinding to a halt during the pandemic, businesses are looking to make budget cuts, and that often trickles down to the employees. Be sure you’re prepared to weather a pay cut or furlough. 

Set up a budget for your expenses to be certain you have enough money to cover necessities like utilities and your mortgage. You may have to trim some nonessential spending now to set yourself up for financial success in the future.  

Polish Your Skills

If you’ve been laid off or had your hours cut during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Moving back into the workplace now that the economy is starting to open up can be intimidating and competitive. Brush up on your current skills or learn something new. You never know what learning a new skill — such as driving a stick shift or learning a new software program — can do for your mindset and career.

Remember Your PPE

Just because you’re back at work, it doesn’t mean the pandemic has gone away. Now more than ever, you need to focus on keeping yourself and your co-workers safe. While your office may have virus mitigation procedures in place, it’s also important to remember and follow CDC guidelines

Wash your hands, keep 6 feet of separation between yourself and others, and remember to wear a mask whenever you’re interacting with people around you. Keeping the disease from spreading is key to squashing the virus’ spread and allowing the economy to reopen fully.  

Stay Flexible

Your workplace likely has changed significantly during the pandemic. It may look different with virus protection measures in place, and your day-to-day routine may be different, too. 

It’s important to stay flexible. You may be asked to perform different job functions than you’re used to, or even take on a completely different role. Bend, don’t break: Adapt to the changes, and you may end up learning a completely new set of skills.

Understand Your Rights

Many companies have revisited their safety policies when it comes to viral hazards in the workplace. If you’re going back to the office, make sure you’re up to date on any changes. Ask your human resources representative about policies related to personal protective equipment, available sick time, and the proper procedure if a positive COVID-19 case is reported. Following updated HR procedures will not only help keep you safe, but it also can keep your office open and running.

After months of working from home, going back to a traditional workspace can be challenging. The unknowns surrounding the workforce, coupled with the fear of contracting a disease, can be overwhelming. But if you remain mindful, keep your mind open to new experiences, and take steps to set yourself up for financial success even in a pandemic-laden world, you can make your transition a successful one.

@ jessica@solopreneurjournal.com

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