Is your sales team heading back to the office? Even if you only plan to work in the office a portion of the workweek, you may have mixed feelings. Working from home is the most sought-after job perk, according to FlexJobs. More than half (65 percent) of employees want to work remotely full time post-pandemic, while 33 percent prefer a hybrid work schedule. Just two percent want to return to the office full time.

If you could use some guidance on how to ease back into working at the office, read on. We share tips from writer Brenda Berg in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Be open about your concerns. You have likely gotten accustomed to working from home for the past 15 or so months. It’s not surprising that going back to the office may cause some stress. You might be eager to see your colleagues in person again, but you also may feel a little wary. Berg suggests speaking to your boss about your concerns. She points out a reassuring statistic: 61 percent of workers say their boss is more aware of their personal circumstances than ever before. Your boss probably knows what’s going on in your life and wants to support you. So, let them know how you are feeling.

2. Inquire about flexibility. You won’t know what your boss will approve if you don’t ask. While your company may be shifting back to full-time office work, your boss may allow you to continue working from home—even just a few days a week. Berg notes that your company may be more receptive to flexible working now than before the pandemic. You can help reassure your boss that working remotely is best for you by writing a formal proposal. Outline how you plan to remain fully connected to the business and your colleagues.

3. Show your support. Your colleagues may not share your same feelings about returning to the workplace. Some may be thrilled to work in a team environment again while others may need some time adjusting to going back to an office. The best way to handle a change in working environment is to be sympathetic and understanding. This goes a long way to make anxious colleagues feel more comfortable about returning, says Berg.

4. Ask for help when you need it. The pandemic has led to many new challenges—including long COVID. If you have taken significant time off work to deal with symptoms, you may need some extra support. Berg points out that this is so new that your colleagues and boss may not fully understand. Ask for help from your boss or HR team to see what kind of support or accommodations are available, Berg recommends.

5. Go easy on yourself. If you find yourself struggling with the transition back to the office, give yourself some grace. It may take some time to return to a feeling of normalcy. Berg says it may be a good idea to ease back into the workplace by visiting the office one day a week to reacquaint yourself with the commute, the building and your personal workspace. And remember to lean on your colleagues and support networks.

You may feel apprehensive about returning to the office—and that’s okay. You can make the transition smoother by discussing your concerns with your boss and asking for schedule flexibility. It’s also important to support others on your team as they adjust to office life again or begin a hybrid schedule. The shift may seem overwhelming, but with planning and patience, you can set yourself up for a productive return to the office.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Brenda Berg is a professional writer with over 15 years of experience in business management, marketing and entrepreneurship.