Returning to the office? Try these strategies to help manage the transition successfully
By Jared Worth
With Covid cases seemingly winding down, more and more companies are looking to bring their employees back to the office, either full-time or on a hybrid basis. Yet employees themselves are resisting this change, having grown accustomed to working from home. Whether you’re an employer or employee, this blog is going to cover a few different strategies to manage the shift to in-person/hybrid work to make the experience more palatable for everyone.
Tips for employees shifting to hybrid or in-person work
While it may seem like you have no control over a return-to-office plan as an employee, there are a few ways to set yourself up for success and minimize the dread and stress that can come with such a shift in your day-to-day.
When working in the office, there’s a good chance you won’t have the ability to get up and walk around with the same freedom you would at home. So rather than stay sedentary all day, try these exercises designed around being seated at your desk.
- Leg Lifts: This extremely simple exercise is perfect for desk work, with the added benefit of being discreet if looking strange is a factor in deciding upon which exercises to do. Simply lift your legs so that they are parallel with the ground, hold for a few seconds, and slowly bring them back down. This will help strengthen your legs and lower abs while also helping to increase blood flow.
- Joint Rotations: Another simple exercise, this time consisting of rotating various joints, such as your wrists, ankles or even your neck. Joint rotations can help prevent common office stress-injuries like carpal tunnel, not to mention improve flexibility and release tension.
- Oblique Twists: These are great for strengthening your obliques, abdomen and spine. All you need to do is sit at the edge of your chair, cross your arms over your chest and rotate with your core from side to side, holding at the furthest point of rotation for a few seconds each time.
Take frequent breaks to stand/stretch
Sometimes, working more means working less. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but taking consistent breaks throughout the day can actually increase productivity. Use the opportunity during breaks/lunch to get up and walk around to help boost your mood and reduce stress. Even just taking a minute to do a quick lap around your workspace can do wonders for your work performance and help make the day more bearable.
Maintain a clean workspace
Exercise can only accomplish so much when it comes to your mood in the office. Being able to maintain a clean workspace is essential to making the office a more pleasant place to be. A cluttered or messy workspace can impact your focus and productivity, potentially leading to frustration or anger. So get rid of those reports that have been stacking up for weeks or months, put away the collection of pens or pencils, and keep only the essentials at hand. You’ll feel much better.
Tips for employers bringing employees back to work
No matter how it’s handled, a return to the office is likely going to be an unpopular decision. Most employees have grown accustomed to working at home, especially those who have been doing so since the early days of the pandemic. So as an employer, it’s vital to make sure the process is as smooth and pleasant as possible for employees to avoid frustration and resentment.
Implement height adjustable desks
Giving employees the ability to choose whether they sit or stand may seem arbitrary on the surface, but can do wonders for employee health and mood. Alternating between sitting and standing can help reduce health issues like back pain and heart disease, not to mention keeping employees happier and therefore more willing to come to the office in person.
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Shifting away from work-from-home in favor of hybrid or fully in-person work will never be easy. There will always be complications that arise, but the key is to remain flexible. Whether it’s offering adjustable hours, allowing employees to choose the days they come in for hybrid schedules, or providing new amenities, showing that you’re willing to be flexible with your employees will go a long way toward making them feel appreciated and ultimately create less resistance to the idea of coming back to the office.
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