As your career path changes, you may shift between working in an office and working at home — either as your own boss or a remote employee. If you’re heading back into office life after a period of setting your own schedule and wearing yoga pants all day, being around people in an office setting can be a major transition.
Some changes will be obvious — farewell, 11 a.m. workout or putting on TV while doing tedious tasks. But you might not anticipate some aspects of the transition, which can quickly overwhelm you. Here’s how to jump back into the world of cubicles and communal coffee machines with ease.
SET NEW ROUTINES
Maybe you’re the type who hops right into work as soon as you wake up. The amount of time it takes to get yourself together each morning before heading to the office could really surprise you, and you might have forgotten just how much longer getting ready will take, says leadership coach Anu Mandapati, a senior manager at The U.S. Leadership Coaching Center of Excellence. Make sure you factor in how long your new routine will take and your commute time before your first day of work.
And keep in mind how your time constraints will change: Perhaps you used to spend your lunch hour doing household tasks like laundry or paying bills. Commuting and spending the whole day out of the house will eat up that time, so empowerment coach Diane Passage recommends making a plan on how you’ll deal with home-related obligations. “You may have to prioritize tasks or outsource — get help from a cleaning person or errand runner — to fit your new schedule,” she says.
LIMIT NEW DISTRACTIONS
Buzzing phones, chatting, snacks everywhere, keyboard and mouse clicks — ugh. Offices are often louder and more chaotic than your own home, where you have more control over your surroundings. Jesse Harrison of Zeus Pre-Settlement Funding, initially worked from home before going into an office every day. She tried to make her office more similar to her home to ease the adjustment by closing her office door when she needed to buckle down. She also bought a small fridge so she could store healthy snacks for herself.
If you don’t have an actual office door you can shut (or a mini fridge), invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones that you can wear to block out any external sounds that may bother you. And stock up on the nonperishable snacks — nuts, dried fruit, or whatever you eat home.