With lockdowns around the world starting to ease, many businesses are starting to prepare to call their employees back into the main offices.
Putting all arguments of increased flexible working aside, (there are enough blogs about that subject around at the moment) we thought we would offer some practical ideas to help you make the transition easier when the time comes.
So here are 5 fun tips for how to make your home feel more like the office in preparation for your return.
Make sure you read to the bottom for the bonus one!
1) Spend 15 minutes in your kitchen, standing chatting to someone
Coffee making chats are a staple in most offices. When you return to the office assume this will go back to being the case, with either social distancing observed, or once measures have been lifted. So it is important to prepare for this eventuality.
We recommend adopting the practice of standing in your kitchen, preferably with a mug in hand, and spending at least 15 minutes chatting to someone else. Conversation can be about the weekend, past or future, workload, weather, sport or family escapades.
Get those social muscles flexing early by engaging a family member, pet or inanimate object in such a conversation. It will be good practice!
2) Get up half an hour earlier to practice commuting
Commuting is an aspect of ‘normal’ life that many of us have gladly dropped in the recent months, but it is, for many of us, an unfortunate side effect of going to work.
Getting back into that routine of commuting is going to take time, so get yourself back into the habit by scheduling in a minimum of half an hour to replicate your method of commuting as best you can.
Normally drive into work? Sit in your car. Start the engine, have a short drive - it will do your battery good.
Normally take the train? Put two chairs by the window, block off the window seat and sit with a bag on your knees for half an hour. Or stand with your nose pressed against a window for the half hour.
Normally walk or cycle? Good news! You can most likely still go out and do that right now.
Whatever your method, get in some practice for when it becomes all part of your day again.
3) Create a queue for the printer
If you are using a printer at home for your job, get used to not being the first in line anymore. Start creating a queue for the device, just to get you back in the habit of waiting for your resources.
The queue can be anything from family members, to particularly obedient pets or inanimate objects if you need to. Who knew that jars of pasta sauce were such heavy printer users.
4) Put a family photo on your desk
For some, it has been nice to have more time available to spend with family and pets, allowing the usual sting of their absence to be lessened during these weeks of lockdown. However, once everyone heads back into the office, that will be set to change.
Get started now by putting a photo of your loved ones on your desk, even if they are sitting just a few feet away from you. You can practice standing in line for the printer in order to do so. See how it’s all coming together?
5) Start making your lunch early and put it in a labelled tupperware in the fridge
Extra points if you can forget what you made yourself by lunchtime.
Eating what you want, when you want it, (for better or worse) will be a thing of the past if employees return to their offices. You will be sent back to the days of preparing a lunchbox and leaving it trustingly in the communal fridge of your workplace, filled with the hope of it still being there by the time you clock off for luncheon.
Get yourself back in the habit of preparing a packed lunch and leaving it in the fridge until lunch time. You never know, it might help with your snack urges.
And, because we promised, here is the bonus tip. It’s my personal favourite.
6) Invite family members to randomly steal stationery from your desk
Kiss goodbye to your favourite pens or stapler if you are going back into an office. Over the last few weeks, you may well have become accustomed to finding your beloved biro exactly where you left it, but that is a luxury soon to come to an end.
So, to prepare yourself for this eventuality, invite your family members to periodically steal items from your desk, or simply move them around the house, just to add a healthy dose of confusion into your day.
So there you have it. Those are our ideas for how to make your home more like the office, to help you mentally prepare for when workplace decides to reopen.
Anyone else hoping to just stay remote?