With the daily Covid numbers steadily decreasing and each province continuing to take steps to reopen, we see a return to the life we knew in February 2020. The reopening includes a return to the workplace. For some, the return to the office is planned for Fall 2021 or early 2022. Regardless of the timeline, some of my clients have told me they are not ready to return to the office. It’s ok to feel this way, we have all had quite the experience over the last 18 months. I am curious what is it that you aren’t ready for?
Is it the fact that returning to the workplace represents another change, or is there something more?
Take the time to reflect on what’s behind the feeling of not being ready. There is a lot to consider.
It could be that you have seen a new possibility; you know that working from home and being productive is possible. Maybe you don’t want the commute as part of your daily routine. Perhaps you want the flexibility to work from the office or home depending on the type of work you need to do or your personal and family needs.
- What have I learned about my working style over the last 18 months?
- Can I concentrate at home, Is there some work better suited for a workplace with others?
- What do I miss about your workplace?
- What am I not so eager to return to at the workplace?
- What have I enjoyed about working from home?
- What have I struggled with over the last 18 months?
- What will I miss once I return to the workplace?
- Do I want to be in the workplace at all?
- What boundaries do I need to create to support the transition?
Designing your Days
Take a look at how you answered these questions. What stands out? What is most important for your health, family and happiness? What do you want your days to look like going forward? What do you need from your leader and your company?
Let yourself design a way of working that fits into your life instead of trying to fit your life around your work.
Sharing your thoughts with your leader
As much as you have learned about yourself in the last year and a half, organizations have also learned. Your teammates, peers and leaders have all had their own covid experiences.
Once you have asked yourself what you need and designed your days, the next step is to talk to your boss. Your leader isn’t a mind reader. If you don’t share your feelings and ideas with them, they won’t be able to support you. So go ahead and book some time in your boss’s calendar.
Before you speak with your boss, prepare your notes. Practicing what you will say and speaking out loud can also help prepare you for the conversation. Know what your top questions or concerns are. Know what is most important to you and share this with your boss. Let your boss know what you need from them.
Sharing your thoughts and feelings with your boss may not be an easy conversation, but it is essential. You have a right to have a say and to be heard and supported. Work is only part of your life. Take a deep breath and connect with your inner courage. You’ve got this.
As a Change Coach, I have more than 15 years of experience supporting leaders like you through change. If I can guide you through the return to office change please reach out at email@example.com or feel free to schedule some time with me here.