Maintaining a level of professionalism while working from home (WFH) during the pandemic has been a challenge, but there are some things that can be overlooked when dialing into a meeting remotely. Any bad habits that have formed during the hiatus from the office must now be banished if you’re returning to company premises for at least some of the week.
If you haven’t yet thought about the realities of showing up again in person, there are a number of bad habits you must stop.
1. Pacing around on the phone
Taking work calls on your mobile may have become the new norm during lockdown, but you’ll soon find yourself constrained by the telephone cord when you’re back in the office. No more getting your steps in while discussing the finer points of a project with a client or surreptitiously emptying the washing machine while on speakerphone with your boss.
2. Lazy dressing
It’s become a cliche to suggest people WFH are wearing their pajamas or only have a shirt on when it comes to work calls, but even if it’s not this extreme, more relaxed dressing has taken hold. It’s time to look at your work wardrobe and return to the items of clothing you were expected to wear in the office before lockdown.
3. Taking naps
The distance from our beds to our desks has never been shorter than during the period of WFH and a strategic nap at lunchtime has been adopted by many. If you’re someone who’s become accustomed to 20 minutes of sleep during the working day, it’s a good idea to phase this practice out as your return to the office date looms. Otherwise you may find yourself yawning at the same time every day in front of your colleagues.
4. Showering at lunchtime
Not only has lockdown provided the perfect opportunity to save time in the morning without the need to commute, some workers have found other ways to justify hitting the snooze button on their alarm. If you’ve become accustomed to taking your daily shower at lunchtime, it’s going to feel like an added wrench to get up earlier to wash before heading out the door.
5. Working longer hours
The lines between work and home became completely blurred during the pandemic, partly because of location, but also due to responsibilities like childcare. Research found that the working day became on average 30 minutes longer during the first lockdown and it’s a trend that’s continued. As you start commuting into the office once more, it’s time to redefine your boundaries and reclaim your evenings and weekends for yourself.
6. Working through your lunch break
With last night’s leftovers conveniently in the fridge or a quick-to-prepare lunch at hand in the kitchen, it’s been so easy to have your midday meal at your desk. Now that you’re in the office it’s a good opportunity to get back into the habit of going out for lunch to pick up a sandwich or get some fresh air.
7. A lack of collaboration
Working as a team came naturally when everyone used to be in the office together, but after such a long period of time away from colleagues, it’s unlikely to be easy. Getting back into the habit of collaborating on projects face-to-face will take some time to get used to and could cause friction if you’ve become accustomed to making decisions on your own.
8. Communicating electronically
Emails and webchat programs have been the communication tools of choice while everyone WFH, but they lack the nuance of talking to a colleague face-to-face. If you’ve gone back to the office and, pre-pandemic, you would have knocked on your manager’s door to talk to them or walked across the room to ask a question of a colleague, then it’s time to start doing that again.